|Wolf tracks Andy and I discovered on a walk last week|
Wolves aren't an unusual sighting in these parts. In fact, in the last year, I've seen more wolves in the wild than I've seen moose. Minnesota has the wolf herd of approximately 3000, the largest wolf herd in the contiguous United States. Last month, the wolves were delisted from the endangered species list in the western Great Lake states and that means there's the possibility of there being a wolf hunt in Minnesota this year.
Although they're fairly ubiquitous, I can't help feeling a little apprehensive about it all. I know it's silly, probably just childhood conditioning from stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs kicking in. My senses prick up when I hear the faint howl of wolves in the evening. As fascinating as it was to stumble upon a pair of wolf tracks when Andy and I were hiking down the lake last week, it also reminded me that I'm sharing these woods with some large predators.
This summer, a wolf grabbed the neighbors' dog by the ruff before the wolf was scared off. (Granted, this same dog was also bitten in the bottom by some critter, probably a bear, this summer. Curiosity got the black lab?) More recently, just this month, another acquaintance's dog was killed by a wolf. The local radio station is issuing warnings like this.
"You're right," Andy said (ironically?). "It is wolf mating season."
Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? Not me . . . ?