Wolf Hunting in Idaho

There are a lot of different ways to hunt in Idaho. You may have an image of an old hunter stuck up in a deer blind, watching over a patch of food bait that will eventually bring a deer or two, and while this may be a fun and beneficial activity, it barely scratches the surface of what a hunter can do with his or her time in the wild. There are so many types of animals out there and so many ways to track and catch them (As long as you stay within the law and procure the proper license before you get started. The government has many options available to you, so unless you fancy yourself a poacher and chancing imprisonment, there is no need to work outside the law). Even if you are a seasoned hunter, there is one prey you may not have considered yet. Wolves. You may imagine that hunting wolves is illegal and impossible but like many animals, wolves cannot exist in a vacuum. Their populations grow and expand and can cause problems for both human interests and the natural environment they occupy. Therefore, it only makes sense to harvest a number of them from the wild every season (It is a very limited hunt. Only a handful of people get in on it every season). On top of all this, wolf hunting is an incredible and rewarding experience, and here are a few things to know before you try and break in.

First, a dedicated wolf hunt is fairly rare and usually unsuccessful. Wolves are difficult to find. They really do not like human contact. Where a deer will stumble into a human neighborhood or a moose mind be seen wandering along a remote but busy highway, it is very rare to find wolves anywhere close to civilization. They are also difficult to track. This does not mean dedicated wolf hunts are not done, but that the best strategy is usually to combine two hunts into one. While you are out hunting some more traditional quarry, bring a long a wolf tag or two and occasionally set out feelers to see if there are any wolves around. Shootout a call here or there, set up a bait trap or two, and hope that you get lucky. This insulates you against total failure. Even if you do not come across any wolves to bring home, you will probably run across plenty of other animals that fit the bill.

As for undertaking an actual dedicated hunt, you go about things a little differently. You implement calls and distractions like any other hunt, but you do so in a different way. First, let us talk about calls. There are a couple different kinds of call. The first is to mimic the sound of an animal that is not a wolf. Make yourself sound like something that a wolf would like to eat, and there is a chance one might come by to check you out. With that chance, you can take your shot and maybe get lucky. You especially want to mimic the sound of an animal in distress. Wolves are all too happy to take you up on an offer to catch an easy dinner. Most of the time, they have to work very hard to survive, hunting down large and healthy game. If they hear an animal that is injured or trapped, it will sound like an opportunity at a cheap meal. If you want to take this idea further, you can actually set up a contraption that will look like a distressed animal as well as sound like one. It will move around a lot and sell the disguise better than just you blowing on a call.

The other kind of call mimics the sounds wolves make. Lots of calls mimic the sounds of the animal they are intended to help hunt, but for wolves, you are trying to sound like an intruder. Wolves are very territorial. If they hear an unfamiliar wolf has entered their domain and is making itself known, one will probably come to investigate at the very least. Other wolves are something they are used to dealing with, and if you make yourself seem like a wolf that means business, they will come to challenge you. If you are good enough, you actually do not need to buy a physical call at all for this. Cupping around your mouth in the right way is good enough to mimic a wolf call.

Finally, you need to be very careful about the sounds you make and the amount you expose yourself visibly. Wolves are experienced hunters, and they do it far better than you do. They have better senses to rely upon and spend every day thinking about how they are going to hunt for their next meal. You, on the other hand, are just visiting their world, so do not think yourself capable of sufficiently blending into your surroundings with just a casual determination. Keep all of your movements slow and limited. This is especially important with your weapon. Swinging around a long rifle is going to give you away to any animals that happen to be looking in your direction. Unless you are using it, keep your rifle close to your person and in line with your profile. Furthermore. If you do not have to get up and move, do not do so. Hunting is about patience, and hunting wolves is far more about patience than regular hunting. Every move should be planned out and methodical, and only acted on when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you are going to stand out vividly as something unnatural in the natural world. Camouflage will help with this, but it is not enough. You need to be actively thinking about how much you can be seen and what you can do not to be seen. This will give you a better chance at a successful hunt here in Idaho

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