The past few weekends I've spent up the Gunflint Trail snowmobiling, icefishing and wolf watching with my friend Cory Christianson, a longtime fishing guide with Sea Gull Creek Fishing Camp. Lake trout, brookies, splake, and rainbows are abundant in many lakes such as; Gunflint, Loon, Birch, Mayhew, and Moss.
[ all images are clickable to a larger image ]
We drilled through 30-36 inches of really good hard ice, pushing the limit of our ice auger.
We caught some nice rainbow trout on Birch lake.
It was calm and sunny all day and we didn't even set-up our shelter.
I took a solo trip into South Lake from Gunflint Lake, where snowmobiles have to stay on the Canadian side because the U.S. / Minnesota side is in the BWCA.
A railroad ran on the trail between Little Gunflint and Little North lake, it still exists from the logging days. See rails about 48 inches wide sticking out of snow.
Stream next to portage trail between Little Gunflint Lake and Little North Lake.
What's left of a deer the wolves chased out on the lake surface and devoured. Usually the only remains are bone fragments, hide, blood and what the deer had in its stomach. We got to this one before the ravens and other birds picked it clean. On Gunflint Lake we counted 4 kill sites that were less than 5 days old.
Lone wolf trotting over to above kill site during the day? Usually when you see a 'lone' wolf out in the open, on a lake in the middle of the day, something is wrong. This animal had a bad case of mange, an ectoparasite that causes wolves to loose hair and weight. This animal was probably kicked out of the pack and is on its own. It only had about 25 percent of its hair left, and has been relegated to leftover scraps and to fend for itself.
Well traveled trail by wolves on Canadian side of Gunflint Lake
Recently the People responsible for regulating wolves destroyed at least one wolf with mange, that was hanging out around people and resorts on Gunflint Lake. If you want to see wolves or signs of wolves head up to Gunflint Lake, they are very abundant. As far as I'm concerned wolf populations are out of control and we are being deceived about their numbers. The number of moose are declining rapidly and if you read between the lines of the MNDNR Moose study, wolves are taking large percentages of pregnant cows and moose calves. See my blog post about moose at: http://www.snowmobiletrailsblog.com/2010/02/moose-population-decline-continues-in.html. Don't take me wrong, wolves have their place in the world, but when you see more wolves than deer and moose, something is wrong. On recent hikes in 4 North Shore State Parks wolf tracks were the main tracks we found on the hiking trails and on the rivers.
Popular waterskipping area at the east end of Gunflint Lake where water runs into Gunflint Lake from Little Gunflint Lake.
As the sun dropped below the treeline our great weekend being outside icefishing and snowmobiling was quickly coming to an end. The sense of going back to the grind tomorrow made me envy the wolves and their freedom; lay on a lake in the sun at day and eat deer or moose at night. Nice!
Interesting links about wolves;
A retired Fairbanks wolf biologist played a key role in confirming what has been declared North America's first documented fatal wolf attack on a human in the wild. http://www.wolfsongnews.org/news/Alaska_current_events_2448.html
Alaska teacher killed and eaten by wolves from Anchorage Daily Newshttp://www.adn.com/2010/03/17/1187285/state-ends-hunt-for-wolves-involved.html
The death of Kenton Carnegie by CBC News Online
Did a wolf attack a girl in Pincushion Recreation Area above Grand Marais, Minnesota?Press Release from the Cook County Sheriff Office
International Wolf Center - Ely, Minnesota
North Shore Snowmobile trails - http://www.snowmobiletrails.com/ for lodging and trail info.
Snowmobile rentals on Gunflint Lake; http://www.snowmobiletrails.com/snowmobilerental.htm