The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt

Posted by: Overwatcher

The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 02:33 PM

Well Friday was a bust..a big bust.While fresh snow to others can cause grief, all I think about is the clean slate for tracks.Wednesday night got me all sorts of giddy watching it snow,with the weekend was still so far away..
After seeing yet another good amount of fresh wolf track,I was not fooled at the fact that it doesn't really mean too much.For the last several months we had been up and down every mountain tracking them,and was amazed at how much ground they can cover.Persistence is always the thing that drives me, and considering these guys are one of the most brilliant critters in the woods,it was getting tough on my patience.

After my last wolf double on a few smaller ones,I was still not quite satisfied.I have always wanted a nice gray.(Had to be honest).After seeing large tracks of  a lone wolf,I knew he was my next predator hunting quest.Hunters and ranchers had spotted this gray...Big,elusive,and wise as any coyote in the country.He had also walked with a bit of a limp.I had seen his tracks, always running the same route practically every time there was fresh snow.Its even more humbling when his tracks are over yours from the day prior.It felt like the chess game of wits,he was winning by a landslide.We had coined him the "ghost dog".
After having no luck in the morning,my dad and I decided to cut loose on a few rabbits,enjoy the high country and get some trail cams moved to a previous kill sight.Walking around the butte to get the camera,my dad thought he would pull a quick one on me.. sneaking to the top of the butte and letting out a big wolf howl...Since I didn't have my gun I was like yeah haha funny one.."You hear that!" My dad all excited.."One just howled!"
As I'm sitting there laughing at what he thought he heard,"Howl Again"...
And lo a behold an instant response..We were almost laughing at what we had heard,and quite frankly the response threw another wrench in the mystery of wolf behavior.
"Well let's go get on him!"
Parking a canyon off from where we could best pinpoint him,I had my dad let own another one of his "signature"wolf howls..
Again instant response and this time he's close!
Trying the best we could to get the the next drainage and close the gap,we set up again and just glassed for any movement.."There he is!" Already way ahead of us and well aware that we were there.
As we sat and watched the beauty and size of this big boy,all I could say was "He does exist"...He beat us again,and managed to get a 6 mile hike out of us in the process.It was a bummer moment and yet a victory actually getting to see him.
Hearing the phone ring the next morning and realizing it was a rancher,I already knew exactly what I was in for..5 wolves spotted around the cows and old kill site..Gotta say I was excited and yet irritated,as I was a least 30 minutes out and the fact that they are just out hanging around..Never had that happen to me!.."Well..Go shoot them up if you get the chance,I'm on my way"..
Shaking my head,it really felt as if god has these wolves just to sit and rattle my cage with..
After arriving,the rancher still had an eye on them,and had not got after them yet.After spotting 5 wolves headed off his cows it was time to get my chance and get the showdown started.
Making my way around to try and flank, a female black burst out of the drainage headed for the hills.Making my way to a crossbuck in the fence,I was able to get her stopped just past 300 yards on a dead run..I was blown away with the speed they can travel!
After going and taking a look at her,I see the rancher coming my way,pointing down on the other field..Wondering what he was pointing at, it immediately became apparent. The "Ghost Dog" was looking right at us trotting away with his "limp".
I don't think I have ever covered that much ground that fast,here I go again running like a savage at another wolf..lol.
Half out of breath from the excitement and pulling up the scope,I had a brief moment where I had to just sit in awe. 5 months of tracking,sitting,waiting,hiking and continually being outwitted,there he was 250 yards away,Staring at me. The size,savage,beauty and the fact that he really wasn't afraid of me was a moment I will never forget.The 100gr. NBT out of the 6.5 Grendel made my greatest predator accomplishment to date.
He turned out to be a big male,140-150 lbs.After skinning him,It looked as if a deer or horse had kicked his rear leg and did some major damage.
The black female was 20-30 lbs lighter,and just a bonus to the one I was really after...The Ghost dog's legacy had come to a close.
Hope you guys enjoyed,little long..again not good with stories,so bear with me!
OW




The Ghost himself.


Better judge his size,the other pictures don't give him justice





Posted by: mhammer

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 03:33 PM

Awesome!! Great job and great story!
Posted by: Crimson Raptor

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 03:38 PM

Outstanding, OW! Beautiful animals worthy of the hunt.

Between your name and your garb, can't help but think that you are from a very small, very special community. Either way, great stuff and thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Bail

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 04:01 PM

Super Jealous!! Nice job!!
Posted by: Dewey NY

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 04:13 PM

Outstanding... Loved the story and pic's... Mission accomplished, Congrats.
Posted by: r15 reeper

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 04:42 PM

Nice job Great Story!!
Posted by: Chad1754

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 05:34 PM

Awesome story and congrats on getting your ghost. I hope to be in your shoes some day with that big of a wolf and smile.
Posted by: lockrotor

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 05:58 PM

Great story and nice pics. Way to go.
Posted by: Hawk-eye

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:03 PM

Fantastic.........Just Fantastic!!! Congratulations Overwatcher! Loved the story and the pictures. I think this one needs nominated!
Posted by: wmig2

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:12 PM

thumbupAwesome story and pics.
Posted by: Kollincoyote

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:37 PM

Nice job on getting your trophy!

Congrats!
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:41 PM

Thanks for the comments guys,I felt like the ghost dog deserved the writeup.Its his story really,Just glad to be apart of it! I never have felt like I did that day with any other critter that has been in the sights.Don't know how he will be topped,and if he is,never forgotten!Although my next quest is to get me a midnight black..Gotta shoot for another goal!
Posted by: TommyP

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:44 PM

Beautiful animals. Very nice hunt. Extremely jealous as well.
Posted by: PSYOPS

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 10:50 PM

DANG!!!! scared

That is awesome!!
Posted by: Miz Kiz

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 11:01 PM

I can't lie; this makes my heart thump pretty fast, even reading it the second time through!
What a great hunt, excellent story, and memory that will last a lifetime. So cool that you got to share it with your Dad.
Thanks for sharing it with us too. (If it were up to me I'd sure nominate it!)
Posted by: catwhacker

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 11:11 PM

Congrats on taking 2 of them!! Very nice story.
Posted by: Rudi

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/11/14 11:16 PM

That is so cool! Good shooting... I can't even imagine seeing one of those let alone getting to shoot one!
Posted by: dan brothers

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 10:10 AM

Posted by: Jeff Mock

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 10:26 AM

I'll be nominating this story for HUNTER OF THE MONTH!
Posted by: DesertRam

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 12:19 PM

Fantastic man! I have major fur envy on that deal. Way to go!!! thumbup
Posted by: crittr gittr

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 12:39 PM

Very nice OW looks like you outdid yourself once again
Posted by: speraz

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 01:01 PM

Good read, nice kill.
Posted by: Silverfox

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 05:06 PM

Overwatcher--Excellent shooting!!! That was a great write-up with super nice photos. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on bagging those two nice looking wolves.
Posted by: sdl

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 05:20 PM

fantastic.. i really enjoyed this and i envoy you..
Posted by: NV Bill

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 07:29 PM

That's a great story. Congratulations on what sounds like a well earned reward. They are sure beautiful and cunning creatures, despite their destructive nature.
Posted by: vicfox

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 07:38 PM

Absolutely splendid read. Congratulations on your outstanding persistence that clearly paid dividends in the end. Certainly they are the ultimate PREDATOR and having targeted that particular Wolf then scoring it plus another as well not to mention a black one is true testerment to your ability both in the field and your marksmanship.
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 08:19 PM

Again thanks for the compliments guys,not too great at telling stories but gave it a shot.These guys were beyond any watering hole bragging rights for me..that kind of stuff is just noise to me.
Something that has really stuck with me was from an article in PX,that was from Dustin Butler from preadordown.com.Went something like this..
"There are two kinds of coyote hunters,coyote callers and coyote killers"
That saying will stick with me forever.Thanks Dustin.
He pretty much drew the line in the sand for me,and made me kick up the shooting aspect of predator hunting.Competitive shooting has also been a major boost in shooting skills,and reccomend it.
Really got to ask ourself,we put all this effort and work into hunting...to miss!?
One last thing for me, is I try not to let my "ego" get the best of me,it actually ends up burning me! If your not the "dead eye" you wish you were,or the ultimate predator hunter,be willing to accept the fact and be willing to get better.
Lastly! lol dont let the guys at the local watering hole or gun shop sit and tell you this or that, and hear about the 100's of wolves and coyotes they have shot..Its just noise.Do what fits you,put in the time and get the outcome you strive for.You will hear nothing but crickets the next time you walk in..
My hope is the story will push you all to strive for what you want,one day it will come.
Thanks again,
OW
Posted by: valmetpredtr

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/12/14 08:48 PM

Man those are nice! I didn't realize that they were that large, sure wouldn't want them trailing me.
Posted by: vicfox

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/13/14 04:40 AM

OW well put. Calling predators or getting the opportunity to shoot at one is one matter and requires much to go your way but connecting is another. One without the other is nowhere.

Your comments are inspiring.
Posted by: Kizmo

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/13/14 11:40 AM

Thank you for sharing a hunt of a lifetime.
Posted by: 12Ring

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/13/14 05:17 PM

Awesome stuff man. Are you gonna bleach the skulls? I see the one sitting on your bench. I want to make a cool display of all the different predator skulls. I have a bobcat, bear, coyote for now and hopefully a fox soon. Not sure I will ever get the mountain lion or wolf. Maybe the mountain lion but taking a wolf in our state will only get you a hefty fine and a revoked hunting license. Personally I would take a black wolf over a grey any day.
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/13/14 10:10 PM

Everything is off to tan and the beetles,everyone seems to like the blacks more and yes they bring more $$,and yes a midnight black wolf is flat out bone chilling looking.I don't know what it has been about a gray that is so appealing,maybe just the fact that they are tougher to spot.They honestly have the ultimate camo pattern.The black's stick out like an angus cow!
I have some wolf skulls hanging around if your looking for one.PM sent.
Posted by: Smokin Barrel

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/14/14 03:42 PM

I gotta admit that I am a little jealous. Great story and THANKS for sharing. Awesome!
Posted by: oregonhunt

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/14/14 07:33 PM

Great story, thanks for sharing it. Great pictures, and the way you laid out the story really got me excited I live in Oregon and just joined this forum. I'm semi retired now so can pursue the things I used to do many years ago, like hunt coyotes. I manage two methane digestors (cow manure to make Methane gas, which run electrical generators) in Tillamook county Oregon. We have lots of diary farms here and lots of coyotes. I am getting into hunting them as I have permission from several farmers to hunt on their land. I'm pretty pumped. One of the farmers is also a coyote hunter. He told me of a dog/coyote alpha male he has been after and said he likes to hang around one of the digestor sites. I went out in the fields which surround the digestors and found some big tracks, lots of scat and lots of evidence of coyote digging. Now I'm taking my 22-250 with me each morning I go to work Hopefully I'll have a good story soon.
Posted by: sendit223

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/14/14 09:39 PM

Well done OW! It's great to read about success and taking your game to that level.

I'd just like to get one wolf. Bucket list item for sure.

Sendit
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/15/14 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: oregonhunt
Great story, thanks for sharing it. Great pictures, and the way you laid out the story really got me excited I live in Oregon and just joined this forum. I'm semi retired now so can pursue the things I used to do many years ago, like hunt coyotes. I manage two methane digestors (cow manure to make Methane gas, which run electrical generators) in Tillamook county Oregon. We have lots of diary farms here and lots of coyotes. I am getting into hunting them as I have permission from several farmers to hunt on their land. I'm pretty pumped. One of the farmers is also a coyote hunter. He told me of a dog/coyote alpha male he has been after and said he likes to hang around one of the digestor sites. I went out in the fields which surround the digestors and found some big tracks, lots of scat and lots of evidence of coyote digging. Now I'm taking my 22-250 with me each morning I go to work Hopefully I'll have a good story soon.

I can see a good story coming already! Makes it more then just another coyote when you get a game of chess going with them.Good luck,can't wait to read your hunt!
Posted by: J.Mark

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/15/14 06:19 PM

Wow your wolves are beautiful. our Wis. wolves are sure not the same breed. Much smaller and usually ugly with very small ruffs.Ive trapped quite a few and being a taxidermist have mounted several and not one of them would I have put on display.Yours now have me drooling over those beauties.
Posted by: oregonhunt

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 02/15/14 06:56 PM

To make it spicy, this farmer said he creased the head of the critter a few months ago with a long shot and it is now very skittish. This morning I sat out waiting for him but it was raining so hard nothing showed except way off over the fields.
Posted by: minerwelder

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/18/14 11:44 AM

Good story can't wait to get my first Wolf good hunting!
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/22/14 11:25 PM

Thanks guys for voting on the HOM.
Just thought I'd share the skull of the ghost himself.
Makes you wonder how much stuff those teeth have been in.
Posted by: SDHowler

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/23/14 12:33 PM

Great story and pictures, keep them coming. What was the weight of these wolves? The pic of you and the finished hide tells another story. What were there lengths from the tip nose to the end of their tails? What did you do with these hides?
Posted by: doa

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/23/14 09:37 PM

Look at the size of the nasal cavity on that skull! Can you imagine the number of receptors a turbinate bone of that size would hold. Pretty much sums up the "cant beat their nose" adage.
Posted by: ultimatesooner

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/23/14 11:55 PM

amazing, wolf hunt is definitely on my bucket list now
Posted by: Overwatcher

Re: The story of the "Ghost Dog" : Wolf Hunt - 03/24/14 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: SDHowler
Great story and pictures, keep them coming. What was the weight of these wolves? The pic of you and the finished hide tells another story. What were there lengths from the tip nose to the end of their tails? What did you do with these hides?


I wasnt able to get an exact weight on them but being modest the gray was likely 150ish and the black was a little smaller.Fur is out getting tanned as we speak,probably another few months out before I see anything.
I'm 6'1,he was around 7 1/2 ft. Tip to tail.
The guy who has the beetles said that was the biggest wolf skull he has seen through his shop.Thanks all again for the compliments and votes,again hopefully it has got you all determined to pursue these guys.They are the ultimate predator challenge.
On a side note:
Ive had to laugh(No pun intended) for the newer coyote callers on here frustrated because they have been out a handful of times and haven't seen anything..The amount of coyotes I had passed up on my "wolf" calling sets was enough to pull your hair out!
5 months of continually seeing nothing was a test of my predator hunting passion,so hang in there guys,its worth it!
OW