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#2718741 - 09/10/14 01:29 PM Wolf Down with my LONGBOW!
jcs271 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 11/27/05
Posts: 1482
Loc: Montana Territory

I have been pursuing my dream of taking a gray wolf with my longbow ever since they were delisted. I have been an avid predator hunter and traditional archer for most of my adult life. It seemed like the ultimate challenge to try and take what is arguably the most elusive apex predator with what is certainly one of the most difficult primitive weapons to master. I spent hundreds of preseason hours practicing and countless days in the field every archery season in pursuit of wolves but have never (until now) been able to put it all together. Ask any predator caller and they will tell you that the most difficult part of predator hunting is often just locating an area that holds the species they are pursuing. This problem is greatly magnified with wolves when one considers the incredibly transient nature of a pack whose territory covers hundreds of square miles.

The 2014 Montana archery season started on a Saturday and by one o’clock in the afternoon I was hiking about 9 miles from the nearest blacktop. I found a pile of still wet wolf scat on the trail so I knew they were close. I set up quickly, my back to a small ridge, with a great view of the facing hillside and shallow valley below. The wind and sun were both in my favor as I began to blow on my predator distress call. Just minutes into my calling sequence I was startled to hear very aggressive barking about 50 yards directly behind me. You guessed it, a pack of 5 wolves had been bedded down on the ridge right behind me and when they responded to my call they got a good whiff of my scent blowing right into their faces. Game over! They seemed quite content to stay just out of sight up in the timber and alternately bark and howl at me for over 30 minutes before they finally drifted out of the valley. Sadly, I must admit that I have experienced that same response from wolves on a number of occasions and they all ended the same way, a fun show and a long walk home empty handed.

Three days later my work schedule unexpectedly cleared so I decided to take a quick morning trek back into that same area and give it another try. I am well aware that frequent calling in an area will quickly educate a wolf pack and ultimately make them even harder to hunt. However on this day I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it on the slim chance that they would still be in the general area. As I approached a likely spot I picked a large tree to stand behind that would provide me some concealment but was also situated for a good view of the nearby hillside and the trail running along the base of it. I shed my backpack and nocked an arrow; my Toelke longbow was now ready for action.

I blew into my FlexTone call, doing my best to duplicate the sounds of some small animal dying a horrible death. Less than two minutes into the sequence I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Unbelievably, a wolf was racing straight down the hill towards the sound of my call with an even larger one about 40 yards behind the first. It all happened fast, but as the first wolf got within about 20 yards of me it put on the brakes, hard.

Apparently realizing that something was wrong, it was already turning and starting to trot away. As the wolf had come to a stop, the call fell from my lips and I came to full draw with my bow. As the wolf started to leave I gave a quick bark which is usually a surefire way to get a canid to stop and look back. The moment the wolf looked back towards me I let the string slip from my fingers and sent the arrow tipped with a Zwickey broadhead on its way. I watched the arrow arc the 28 yards to the wolf as if it were in slow motion and saw the feather fletches bury in the fur near the last rib of the now quartering away animal. I watched the wolf spin and bite at its side before taking off at a dead run straight back up the hillside it had just come down. It disappeared over the hilltop and out of my sight. The other wolf also turned and ran, stopping at the top of the hill to bark at me several times before departing.

In the moments after the shot, archers will frequently replay in their mind the spot that was hit, the reaction of the animal and its direction of travel. I was no different, and while I was very confident in the shots placement I am experienced enough to realize that what looks like a good hit can occasionally result in a long blood trail, or even worse, a lost animal. I picked up my pack, gathered my gear and tried to calmly wait the recommended 30 minutes before following after the wolf. In reality it was taking every ounce of my will power to fight off the urge to rush over that hill and begin my search immediately. I finally reached a compromise with myself and after 20 minutes started to follow the blood trail. As I scaled the small hillside I found a fairly good blood trail with drops close enough that they were no challenge to even my limited tracking skills. When I got to the top I found where it had followed a trail on the spine of the ridge then the blood droplets suddenly stopped. To say that this was starting to look like my worst nightmare would be an understatement and a moment of panic set in. I took off my pack and was starting to get out my flagging tape to mark the last known drops of blood. As I unzipped my pack I glanced over and not fifteen feet away was the now lifeless wolf sprawled over a small log. It had run less than 100 yards from where it had been shot. I let out a whoop that was probably heard in town 20 miles away.

All of the hours spent both at the range and in the woods had finally paid off. I had just fulfilled an incredibly challenging goal and at the same time I had taken what may be the first modern day wolf killed with a longbow. I sat there on that log just soaking up the sights, sounds and smells. It was an experience that I now shared with the wolf hunters throughout history and it was one that I wanted to savor as long as I possibly could!

The details; The wolf was examined by a biologist and then a game warden at which time a DNA sample was taken as part of the states management plan. It was an adult female in excellent condition (other than the fact that she was dead). Equipment used was a 62” Longbow crafted by Dan Toelke, 56lbs@30”. Carbon Express wood grain Heritage 350 arrow tipped with a Zwickey 145 grain broadhead. The shot entered mid body at the last rib on the right side and exited through the left armpit taking out both lungs on the way through.

"saving helpless baby animals, one predator at a time."

"The problem with quoting info from the internet is that you can never be sure it is accurate" Abraham Lincoln

#2718745 - 09/10/14 01:36 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
Tbone-AZ Offline
PM senior

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 6884
Loc: AZ, Phoenix
Great job.. That is amazing and a great write-up.
Have fun being an [beeep].. I hope it's all you hoped for.

#2718748 - 09/10/14 01:49 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
SlickerThanSnot Offline
PM senior

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 5771
Loc: stuck in a fence
wow. what a great accomplishment. congrats.

i would not say you deserve hunter of the month. more like hunter of the year. wow.
skeptical is what i am when told there is a dead coyote in certain far off pictures.

#2718752 - 09/10/14 01:57 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
crapshoot Offline
Retired PM Staff

Registered: 03/22/02
Posts: 23108
Loc: Henderson,Nevada,USA
Way to cool. Congratulations. You're a pretty good writer too.
I carry a gun because a cop is to heavy.

Average response time for a 911 call is 10 min.
Average response time for a .45acp is 900FPS.

Remember, if you're not pissing off a liberal......You are one!
Ted Nugent

#2718754 - 09/10/14 02:16 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
atd Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 1182
Loc: Miami Beach
Congrats- great read as well.

#2718758 - 09/10/14 02:37 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: atd]
Redfrog Offline
Chairman of the Board

Registered: 12/12/01
Posts: 18017
Loc: Palliser Triangle, Alberta
Congratulations on a well executed plan.

I've called lots of wolves in over the years, and know how difficult they are to kill with a rifle, so I have an acute understanding of what a great trophy this is for you. thumbup

#2718759 - 09/10/14 02:42 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: atd]
Zegle Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 11/18/13
Posts: 165
Loc: Nebraska
Congrats! Difficult animal to hunt with a rifle, let alone with one of the most primitive weapons there is.
Much respect! thumbup
"Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

#2718764 - 09/10/14 02:49 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: atd]
Yellowhammer Offline
Retired Moderator

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 16580
Loc: Huntington, Texas
Outstanding! Good read, too.
"The recreational value of a head of game is inverse to the artificiality of its origin"

"No prize is greater than the effort taken to acheive it"

- Aldo Leopold, The Father of Wildlife Management

#2718769 - 09/10/14 03:00 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
blopez50 Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 2794
Loc: Montana
Awesome job man! Congrats!

#2718771 - 09/10/14 03:07 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: blopez50]
Hidalgo Offline
PM senior

Registered: 09/10/06
Posts: 6081
Loc: TN
WOW ... that's AWESOME! thumbup

#2718772 - 09/10/14 03:10 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
Kiyotes Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 120
Loc: Upper, Mi
Congrats, well done!

#2718775 - 09/10/14 03:18 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: Redfrog]
hm1996 Offline
PM Junkie

Registered: 07/23/06
Posts: 17073
Loc: S. Texas
Congratulations on a well planned and executed hunt! Excellent write up, thanks for sharing.

If what's ahead scares you and what's behind hurts you, look up; He never fails you.

If My people will humble themselves, pray, seek My face & turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & heal their land.

#2718776 - 09/10/14 03:18 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: Hidalgo]
tripod3 Offline
PM senior

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 8663
Loc: WA
What can you possibly do to top that now.
Can't Have Good Without Bad

#2718779 - 09/10/14 03:29 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: tripod3]
jcs271 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 11/27/05
Posts: 1482
Loc: Montana Territory
Originally Posted By: tripod3
What can you possibly do to top that now.

I'll bet I can think of something! smile

If I can get a bear this fall, that would give me a Mt. lion, wolf, coyote and bear all with the longbow in 12 months. Kind of a "predator slam"!
"saving helpless baby animals, one predator at a time."

"The problem with quoting info from the internet is that you can never be sure it is accurate" Abraham Lincoln

#2718791 - 09/10/14 03:56 PM Re: Wolf Down with my LONGBOW! [Re: jcs271]
DAA Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 5379
Loc: Salt Lake City

Just plain impressive. All around.


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