Wolves on the rise in Sunset Country

I love to fish and over the years, along with my friends and family, have spent many days on the water chasing bass, crappies, and walleyes around right up until freeze-up.
I’ve wrecked plenty of my dad’s equipment pushing the limits—breaking ice just to get that one last fish in of the year.
But over the last few years, fishing has taken a back seat after September as I’ve become addicted to deer hunting and spend seven or eight weeks each season in the woods pursuing whitetails.
Now two weeks into the 2008 season, I’ve seen a few nice deer but been astounded at the amount of wolf sign I’ve come across and some of the sightings I’ve had. I also have a number of trail cameras I put up around some of my favourite deer-hunting spots that have taken some wolf photos.
Over the past couple of years, my cameras have taken two or three pictures of wolves. But only two weeks into this season, I’ve already had more than 30 pictures of these hunting machines.
My guess is they go as the deer go. With high deer populations in Northwestern Ontario, wolves are well-fed and their population has increased, too.
Last week I had the closest encounter I’ve ever had with wolves. I was scouting for a new spot to put up a tree stand and, having found some good signs of deer travel, I picked out a tree I would put the stand in.
I was standing still, just enjoying my surroundings, when I heard a really odd, loud sound I did not recognize. Having also seen some fresh moose sign, I actually thought that maybe it was a bull moose pursuing a cow?
I made a couple of lame moose sounds, and in less than a minute two wolves came running in to about 15 yards away from me. One was a small grey wolf while the other was a large black one—a beautiful animal.
Both wolves saw me right away, and the smaller one instantly moved to get downwind of me. As soon as it caught my wind, it turned around and both wolves ran off never to be seen again. It was a really neat experience.
Wolves will not bother people, and the way these animals acted when I saw them proved this fact.
I do believe wolves are having an impact on deer populations in the region. In all the scouting I’ve done, I’ve found a large number of wolf-killed deer. I also have not been getting as many trail camera photos of deer as I usually do, and have not seen quite as much deer sign as I have in previous years.
I guess this is nature at work—the wolves are just doing their job keeping the deer in check.

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