The Wolf That Got Away

Canis lupus

Canada supports the second largest gray wolf population in the world, after Russia. Wolf habitat is diverse in this large country where, historically, wolves ranged in most areas. Currently, wolves in Canada occupy approximately 90 percent of their historic range. The 10 percent of Canada without wolves is primarily near the southern border, except near Lake Superior where wolves still live.

This is the second half of the combo hunt.  I had already harvested the moose in short order and now it was the wolf hunt.  I was teamed up with a gentleman and his wife and their goal was a mule deer.  The area abounds with mule deer and the biggest whitetail deer I have ever seen.  The deer hunter was after a trophy.  The plan was for me to hunt moose early, and then ride along with the deer hunter while we looked for deer.  Later in the day toward evening, we would head back into the scrub, wooded areas, canola fields and areas where the oil people had equipment.  Then it was moose time.  This was the plan until I bagged a moose.  Then, I would be hunting wolf the rest of the time. 

On the third morning I bagged my moose and so from now on, it would be wolf time. 

Not a big moose, but the smaller ones have not had years of testosterone running through their veins.  We have already had some, and it is outstanding.  Absolutely no game taste to it at all.  Almost like eating premium beef.

By the time we got him dressed out and taken to the processor, the day was over.  Now, I would have 4 days of wolf hunting.  The outfitter had an extra day at the end of my time frame, so he gave it to me and now there were 5 days to get the job done. 

This is a gorgeous picture as it was just getting light.  No wind, and the bait site was straight ahead.  This picture is off to my left.

I had a light breeze in my face and straight away about 150 yards was the bait site.  Whenever there are ravens and magpies, it is a safety signal for the wolves and as they sneak along in the timber, they will come out to eat. 

Looking straight ahead.  I like the fog because the wolves are sight feeders first and they will not see that well, just like me.  The bait site is located just to the left of the two washcloths on the sill.  That is where I lay my equipment to get the job done.

Day one ended and the sky cleared.  Nothing came through to nibble at the bait and so it is back to the box tomorrow.

This is looking at the front of the box.  I got out of the box to take a whiz and got two pics.

This is looking from the backside where I crawl into the box.  The chair is an office chair and I can raise and lower it to get the the right height.  Notice the propane heater off to the right and my bag in the front.  It contains extra ammo, lunch, hand warmers and extra gloves plus camera.

To avoid getting out of the stand, I drink NO coffee in the morning and very little water while in the box.  If I get a little thirsty, only a sip of water and then guzzle the rest of the bottle when back to the vehicle to pick me up. 

After another day, we changed locations as the weather had shifted. We walked up a road that the oil people had made.  Halfway down the road was a small lake that was frozen over, but the guide had achieved results at this location.  He had a big bait pile about 100 yards from the stand.

Looking over my stick, you can see the road and the bait pile was only a few yards down the road.  This would be easy pickings if a wolf came for a snack. 

At the bait site.  The guide had brought some more bait to put down and bones were scattered everywhere.  The bait comes from a processor that packages meat for the hunters and consists of bones and trimmings not packaged

I hunted two different locations, but did not get a shot.  I did have a couple of coyotes come to dine but did not see a wolf.

When we got back to the vehicle, there was a fresh wolf track. 

Four days in the box and while the temps were moderate, 0-10 degrees F, I could feel the iron in my blood was turning to lead in my backside.

When I got back to the lodge, I told my guide and the outfitter I was folding my tent.  They both said, ” Stick it out one more day.  We will sleep a little later in the morning and then you can head back to Iowa the next day.”   I have to confess, I was not only physically tired, but mentally tired.  With four big coolers in the back of the truck, there was 2200 miles of driving to do.  However, I have a moose.

This is my guide.  He got the big deer he wanted after I left.

Now below is a really sad story.  One of the guides went out to the stand where I sat for three days and he scored.   Fellow hunters give it that extra push regardless of how it hurts and if they have the time. 

If I had only taken one more day.

Good hunting, good fishing and good luck,  Hank

In the words of Napoleon “All things come to he has patience.”

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Alberta Moose Hunt

Beautiful Alberta

With my vaccination record and a Covid test prior to reaching the border, it was off to the Spirit River area in Alberta Canada.  Over 2,200 miles one way, it took a mere three days of driving.  The drive was enjoyable and seeing all the country we rarely hear about added pleasant memories to the trip.  Crossing the border at Sweetgrass/Coutts got me into Canada.  At the kiosk on first entry, my passport, proof of at least two vaccinations for Covid, and the completed test for the virus at least 72 hours before crossing was required.  Then they asked me where I was going, what I was going to do, and when I would arrive there. 

Next step was to go into the administration building where my contract with the outfitter was examined and my paperwork to bring a firearm into Canada was examined.  The final step was to pay my fee to bring in the firearm and off I went.  Total time was about 30 minutes. 

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Japanese Ambience Festival

Display in the Gardens with a Shinto Shrine on top.

For an entire weekend in October, Lauritzen  Gardens grounds was alive with merriment as guests celebrated the joys of autumn and experience the Japanese culture first-hand.   My wife is a member and we go to the gardens whenever there is a program.  This one was special since several years ago we spent three weeks in Japan on a tour. 

The Omaha Sister Cities Association helps host the Autumn and Japanese Ambience Festival, with a variety of activities to celebrate the Japanese culture. Japanese Ambience also celebrates the anniversary of the gift of the Japanese Sunpu Castle Gate at Lauritzen Gardens by Shizuoka, Japan, Omaha’s first Sister City.

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We Have Been Waiting for This Season

 

The Aspen trees are in full bloom with the coming of fall.

It is here.  The season hunters have all been waiting for, “Fall.”  It arrived September 22nd, and one of the first signs is the turning of the sumac.  Fishing is really picking up now and will be good through October, if you can put up with the cool to cold weather and the windy conditions that go with it.  I have one friend that fished South Dakota and had outstanding catches of walleye and perch.

We who live in the northern hemisphere have probably all noticed longer days and shorter nights in the summer and the opposite in winter. This phenomenon occurs because the Earth’s axis is not straight up and down at a 90 degree angle, but it is instead tilted a bit.

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It’s Never Over Till It’s Over

 

We needed one more fishing trip up to Lake Francis Case before calling it quits, and this day was day two.  The month of June was a beautiful month and the severe heat was coming that we all experience during July and up into August.  The fish keep feeding, it is just that they go deep and seem to be more spread out.  Anyway this is the feeling of the guide we have fished with for several years.  He was born, raised, and worked in the area all his life.  He is no stranger to Lake Francis Case. 

This was day one of the trip. Continue reading

Walleye Fishing at Its Finest

My wife said she would make the trip with me to Platte, SD to fish on Lake Francis Case.  The lake is part of the Missouri River system of dams and lakes that provide some of the finest walleye fishing in America.  Her only requirement is for good weather and she will even tolerate windy days.  Cold and wet is a no go situation. 

Just as you enter the town of Platte, you are greeted with this antique sign in outstanding condition.  Plus, there is the original gas station.  I showed that pic to some friends and they said the sign if in good condition is worth some change.

The lodge put us up at the new pheasant lodge they had just purchased.  Pam had never seen this before and was astounded this first class hunting lodge was on the prairie of South Dakota and no one knew about it.  Great rooms and we had the entire run of the lodge.  There was another couple there and we visited with them about the fantastic setting of the lodge.  We did supply our own meals, and our local grocery store deli has pre made meals that supplied us with all we needed. A micro wave was available so we are set with meals.Continue reading

How Sweet It Is

Here it is.  The chariot that will carry us to glory and lots of walleye.

This is South Dakota.  Weather in this state is chaotic.  The blow out period moved the low pressure out, and this is generally not good for fishing.  We still had a high overcast, but the wind came up and began to blow.  This is where an experienced guide shows why we pay them for this service.  We went fishing in the big Lund as it made its way up the lake.  The guide had been in this type of weather before and knew where to go.  Twenty minutes after launching we moved into about 4 to 6 feet of water and started to fish.  It did not take long and we picked up a couple of keepers. Continue reading

Hammering the Walleyes

Here it is, boys and girls, the Berkley Flicker Shad that we caught the majority of the Walleye.  Just click on the picture and go to Bass Pro and buy several in case you lose a couple. 

The reservation was made in February of this year to fish our favorite lake on the Missouri River.  Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The lake has an area of 102,000 acres and a maximum depth of 140 feet. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles and has a shoreline of 540 miles.  With all that shoreline, this reservoir is a regular walleye factory. Continue reading

Big Score, First Day, First Hour

 


 

 There he is doing his job.  The Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy getting ready to suck in the big toms.  They see this little guy and they come right toward him to kick the living daylights out of him. Read on.

This was almost like poaching.  Never in my life have I had such immediate success. The opening sentence should be the weather was cold, the wind was blowing, and it took me 30 minutes to find a suitable place and it was over in fifteen minutes.  There is more.  Continue reading

Fall Fishing Lake Francis Case

 God does not charge time spent fishing against a man’s allotted life span. 

Old Indian Provberb

Last spring Pam and I went up to Platte Creek Lodge and fished for walleye on Lake Francis Case.  The lake is part of the Missouri River series of dams that stretches from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota all the way into Montana.with the final lake at Canyon Ferry Dam.  We fish with a guide that is a native of South Dakota and has fished the river all his life.  His boat is outstanding and all the gear, bait, and know how, is included in the price.  Plus, he is a joy to be with and is so accommodating to his customers and guests.  That makes for a really exciting and great trip. 

 

These are the keepers we caught.  South Dakota has a 15″ minimum and we threw back a lot of shorts.  From the time we hit the water this nice series of eaters took three hours. 

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