Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wolf Tracking In Wisconsin

Just home from a week and a half of adventuring in northern Wisconsin where I participated in a collaboration between Teaching Drum Outdoor School and Wilderness Awareness School on Wisconsin Wolf Tracking Expedition, joined by former Wilderness Awareness School Instructor and founder of the Earth Native Wilderness School, David Scott. Teaching Drum hosted the program which was held very close to the School's home base near the town of Three Lakes, Wisconsin.

Despite unseasonably warm conditions on several of the days and a lack of fresh snow for the first half of the class, snow conditions allowed us to peice together some amazing stories about the wolves of the region and the other wildlife that share the North Woods with them.

Front track of an adult Wisconsin wolf.

My coinstructor, and founder of the Earth Native Wilderness School, David Scott, inspects the recent scent marking activity of a wolf under a large hemlock tree just off of a forest service road in the Nicolet National Forest.

David Scott and Teaching Drum staff member Chris Bean discuss the home range of the Giant Pine Pack which the class spent several days tracking.

Prior to the start of the program, Teaching Drum founder Tamarack Song took David Scott and I out to visit the folks participating in the rigorous 11 month long Wilderness Guides Program.

The participants in the Wilderness Guides Program invited us into their sleeping shelter, where they are weathering the snow and subzero temperatures of northern Wisconsin in relative comfort.

The outside of their winter quarters.

Tamarack Song looks on as one of the Guides in training works an elk hide on the frozen lake by their winter camp.

Tracks of a fisher bounding into the forest. Fisher sign was relatively common in many of the locations I visited while in the area.
Participants in the Wolf Tracking Expedition inspect the scat left behind by a large fisher.
Front track of a wolf found on the program.

Conservation Biologist and wolf researcher Ron Schultz shared tracking tips and stories from his years of field work capturing and colloring wolves in the area.

Teaching Drum staff member Leah Moss inspects a set of fisher tracks.

Tracker Randell Westfall inspects the cavity created by an excavated cache of deer meat made by a wolf.

Wilderness Awareness School meets Teaching Drum in the North Woods.