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An Alaskan wolf tale…. redux

October 25, 2019

….it has been over 20 days since I last penned a blog posting and I am still lost in a fog of uncertainty. Yes I have started many postings as my desktop can attest but though the inspiration does exist for their creation that inspiration soon fades and despair takes hold as that fog embraces my mind. So because this incident marks a memorable occurrence while I lived and worked in Alaska and because I thought my old friends and new visitors may enjoy reading about my encounter with the wolf packs of Alaska I offer you a taste of the old ‘Pete’s Alaska’ blog, enjoy!

The illumination from the normally bright security lights was devoured by the thick cold fog and was unable to even cast a shadow from the horse corrals surrounding it. I sat, gun in hand, in the middle of the yard on my four wheeler trying vainly to keep watch on the fleeting ghost like appearances of the horses. It was reminiscent of an old black and white horror movie, with the dense fog pulsing in intensity and the nearby howls of starving wolves. At different moments and from different directions one loan wolf crunched down teeth bared would appear and as I fired…. it vanished as if it never existed.

I had worked for Les Cobb, at Lost Creek Ranch, as an assistant hunting guide for two years now and because he was away working at a gold mine he called and asked me if I could go out to his ranch and help his wife keep some wolf packs from killing his animals. I made the 130 mile journey out from Fairbanks to find his wife Norma looking exhausted from her nightly wolf patrol.

Normally wolf packs do not join forces to attack their prey but because of the numerous forest fires raging they had pushed a number of packs in the direction of the ranch. Add to that the fact that there was a good number of animals at the ranch and because the now starving wolves had all picked up the horses scent a number of packs had joined forces to go in for the kill. Norma had notified Alaska fish and game but they did not believe her when she told them that it was more than one wolf pack attacking her ranch, and would not send any people out to help keep them at bay. Apparently wolf packs joining forces to attack is relatively unheard of in Alaska.

So hear I sat at six in the morning, beyond tired, feeling cold and damp shooting at ghosts in the mist. I could tell day was dawning because the light from the security light now appeared even weaker as the fog itself brightened with the coming sunrise. I could now see maybe 20 feet away from my position and could clearly see the fencing surrounding the horses. Like anyone who stood guard for an entire night at times my fixed stair would cross over to an awaking sleep….

For some reason a colder than normal chill went down my spine and as I turned to ward it off I was shocked at the sight of a wolf not 5 feet away. In that instant the squalid, teeth bared wolf looked to be as big as a full grown bear and for that brief instant we both froze and just stared at each other. Yes I know not the actions one would expect from an Alaskan hunting guide, but with almost 24 hours of no sleep it could be expected.

Time seemed to be suspended and what surely was but seconds seemed like minutes before I raised my 357 and fired. In that same instant the wolf seemed to disappear and re-materialize on the bank of the stream 10 foot further away. I switched over to my shotgun and fired twice more as he headed down the embankment to the stream.The sounds of my firing brought Norma from the house and she arrived in time to see the wolf as he crossed the stream and melt into the dense brush.

We may have been disappointed

that no blood

or sign of a dead wolf was found

but we were content

that at least for another night

the animals of

Lost Creek Ranch

were safe.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon permalink
    October 26, 2019 10:49 pm

    Enjoyable to read, Pete. Very few cases of wolves attacking humans, but it does happen. I remember a story in either Alaska magazine or one of the papers up there about a female jogger, I believe she lived in S.W. Alaska who was out jogging when she was attacked & killed. Not certain of the location of this event.
    Good to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. January 15, 2021 2:23 pm

    Wolves can be dangerous to humans when they start coming in that close and getting that bold. Good job running that one off!




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