Wolf Encounter - maybe?

JDB9818

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 21, 2012
Messages
362
Location
Colorado
I was just up elk hunting in north central Colorado (north of Walden). I was camping in an established camp spot that I have stayed at several times in the past.

I had gone to bed and around 9:15 I was awoken by what I initially thought was a coyote "yipping" right behind my camp. It was making quite a bit of noise and I could hear it moving around fairly close to my tent. After a couple of minutes it moved off and I thought it was probably just passing through.

Several minutes later it was back and this time I realized that there were at least two of these animals and I also realized that they were not coyotes, but wolves. They were "aggressively yipping" for lack of a better description, but they were also clearly circling my camp. I could hear them fairly close to the tent and they were making noise from every direction. This, believe it or not, continued until about 2:30 in the morning. I tried yelling, shining a light, etc. to try and get them to leave with no success. Eventually they moved off.

I confirmed my suspicions in the morning when I found a track in the dirt about 65 yards from my tent. I know that they were closer than that for sure.

This is an area that has seen a rise in wolf activity over the past few years. The pack has killed domestic cows and a dog. Last year while moose hunting in this area we ran into a guy who told us a story about an outfitter who had some clients in a spike camp get surrounded by the wolves before moving off.

When I did some very quick internet research, they say that wolves typically avoid humans and attacks are very rare? I keep a clean camp and there wasn't any meat hanging, etc. Coincidently, there were no elk in the area either (haha).

This encounter was pretty frightening and I am just trying to learn from others who have some experience hunting in wolf county. I have spent a significant amount of time in this part of Colorado, but I have never actually laid eyes on the wolves there. I have seen several tracks over the years. Is this "normal" behavior or why would they act like this? Just looking for some info or to hear of others who might have had a similar experience.
 

coloyooper

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
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813
Location
CO
I gotta imagine with all the keyboard cowboys shooting, shoveling and shutting up, no wolf is going to come close to human presence in northern colorado
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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2,109
I hunt in that neighborhood occasionally and have never seen anything resembling a wolf or wolf sign. I know others who have but no stories similar to this.

Just curious, why not poke your head out the tent with a light and a firearm to get a look?
 

mtnbiker208

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Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
721
Location
north idaho
I have bumped into wolves a few times, always came away smiling. Pretty cool expierences.
if you get a chance and hear them howling, howl back. you might be suprised what happens next.
 
OP
J

JDB9818

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 21, 2012
Messages
362
Location
Colorado
I hunt in that neighborhood occasionally and have never seen anything resembling a wolf or wolf sign. I know others who have but no stories similar to this.

Just curious, why not poke your head out the tent with a light and a firearm to get a look?

So I did take a look outside, actually got out for a quick look but I didn’t lay eyes on anything.

Not gonna lie, I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time out there looking anyway

I actually know a couple of guys who live and work (ranchers) within about 1-2 miles of this place and they saw wolves killing elk in the area this past winter. I know they are around.

Maybe it was a couple of very large coyotes, I don’t know for sure, but it definitely was an uncomfortable situation.


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def90

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Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
1,167
Location
Colorado
Probably coyotes, they aren't too afraid of approaching people. Have yet to hear of wolves doing anything similar in Co.
 

49ereric

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Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Messages
427
I walked into a wolf in the woods last year in mid September. I was walking up wind on a track in dense woods and it heard me but had not identified me and when it did it was gone in a flash. Probably around. 25 yards away at the most.
 

BajaDog

Newbie
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Sep 21, 2022
Messages
3
Pardon my intrusion. I've worked on the wolf issue in Colorado and have been involved in efforts in North Park to try to minimize livestock/wolf encounters. I try to keep my ear to the ground on rumblings, which includes some lurking of these forums.

JD, as you may know, there is an active pack of wolves in North Park. This includes a breeding male and female and up to 6 offspring, though no more than 7 have been seen together in some time. The radio collars for this pack have all stopped functioning and CPW doesn't plan to refit the wolves with new collars until the weather cools off, likely in the winter. The breeding male is the only gray colored among them. The female and yearlings are all black in color. If you were able to get eyes on the pack, the coloring would be a pretty clear indicator about wolf vs coyote, as black coloring in coyotes is exceptionally rare.

In either case, it's my opinion from your account that you experience some harassment from the canines, whatever they may have been. Wolves are indeed people-shy, but they're also protective of their territory. If a pack felt you were in their territory and too close for comfort, they might try to haze you out of the area. We often see wolves and coyotes alike 'escort' people out of their territory, though it can feel a lot like being stalked.

On the reverse end, there is a degree of legal harassment people can use when they encounter wolves, even with their federally protected status. So long as you do not cause injury, you can scare the wolves off and that sort of hazing is encouraged to help make sure the wolves never habituate to people. Range riders and ranchers have been encouraged to haze the wolves when they are encountered. US Fish and Wildlife Services does prohibit harassment, but they define harassment as "an intentional or negligent act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering." Simply making noise or other actions to scare wolves away from an area are perfectly in line with FWS's rules.

Reference: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Wolves/USFWS-Regional-Director-Letter-03072022.pdf

Hope this is helpful
 

49ereric

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Messages
427
Pardon my intrusion. I've worked on the wolf issue in Colorado and have been involved in efforts in North Park to try to minimize livestock/wolf encounters. I try to keep my ear to the ground on rumblings, which includes some lurking of these forums.

JD, as you may know, there is an active pack of wolves in North Park. This includes a breeding male and female and up to 6 offspring, though no more than 7 have been seen together in some time. The radio collars for this pack have all stopped functioning and CPW doesn't plan to refit the wolves with new collars until the weather cools off, likely in the winter. The breeding male is the only gray colored among them. The female and yearlings are all black in color. If you were able to get eyes on the pack, the coloring would be a pretty clear indicator about wolf vs coyote, as black coloring in coyotes is exceptionally rare.

In either case, it's my opinion from your account that you experience some harassment from the canines, whatever they may have been. Wolves are indeed people-shy, but they're also protective of their territory. If a pack felt you were in their territory and too close for comfort, they might try to haze you out of the area. We often see wolves and coyotes alike 'escort' people out of their territory, though it can feel a lot like being stalked.

On the reverse end, there is a degree of legal harassment people can use when they encounter wolves, even with their federally protected status. So long as you do not cause injury, you can scare the wolves off and that sort of hazing is encouraged to help make sure the wolves never habituate to people. Range riders and ranchers have been encouraged to haze the wolves when they are encountered. US Fish and Wildlife Services does prohibit harassment, but they define harassment as "an intentional or negligent act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering." Simply making noise or other actions to scare wolves away from an area are perfectly in line with FWS's rules.

Reference: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Wolves/USFWS-Regional-Director-Letter-03072022.pdf

Hope this is helpful
People should mark their camp-territory in the manner in which wolves do.
lift a leg fellas on the corners of your camp. 🤠
 

505Wapiti

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
354
I’ve read several online posts in the past few years about questioning the difference between wolf and coyote. Last year in SW New Mexico my 12 year old son and I were on his deer hunt late November. We were lucky enough to watch a pair (one large black, one smaller grey) lurk around a small group of cows for about 15 mins. My son spotted them first and we watched them through binos from about 300 yards away. I’ve seen and killed more coyotes in my life than I could even try to count, and these things dwarfed any coyote I’ve ever seen. I have a 90lb English Chocolate Lab and the black one was bigger and the grey one was prob the same size or a tad smaller than my lab. Figured it was a male/female pair. Neither one had a radio collar. Their legs, head and size of their feet doesn’t compare to a coyote at all. Pretty cool to see…. From a distance 🙂
 
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