While I’m a diehard Moth sailor at heart, at times, I do focus on things other than sailing. Recently I picked up a new hobby- wolf hunting. I’ll share with you about how this turn of events happened. I’ve always been and will be a true Moth sailor, but a recent meeting with a friend of mine had me take up this new idea of hunting. As you know Moth sailing is pretty adventurous. When this friend mentioned about how exciting it was to hunt wolves, I was very much taken with the idea and decided to try it.
Everyone needs a hobby to add some fun factor in life. A hobby helps to improve life quality and helps you to spend your free time doing something valuable such as learning, making money, being productive, or just relaxing and having fun.
The reasons to have a hobby are various. One is it helps you spend your free time and lets you escape from boredom. You can meet up with new people, have fun, dabble in something new, boost your creativity, and even make some money in the process. And the best part is you will have some pleasant activity to look forward to.
And with such a good many benefits behind having a hobby, I think you’d understand my taking up wolf hunting. Well initially, it was all Greek and Latin to me. Soon I learnt the technique not only with my perseverance, but also because I had a good instructor.
During the initial training phase, I didn’t meet with much success. There I was ready and geared up with my rifle, scanning all sides, and finally zeroing in on the target. Amidst the snow covered tree branches, I could see a wolf head appear all of a sudden. The wolf was just 30 yards form me. It was my first up close encounter with a real wolf, and you can understand my reaction. The wolf was huge and thankfully, it didn’t spot me. I got ready to shoot. I view through my scope and precisely missed the target. The next second, the wolf vanished into thin air. I realized then that I needed more practice.
I have to mention at this juncture that wolf hunting is not my first attempt at hunting. Earlier I tried my hand at hunting on the water. Since I’m familiar with water and can sail well, it was natural for me to take up water hunting. Waterfowl hunting is an exciting hobby, which I relish in. Shooting precisely is very much part of the sport. While there are other things that matter such as building blinds, scouting, calling, setting decoys and other preparations that lead to your taking aim, when you shoot right on target it gives you immense pride.
Mastering your shooting skills needs practice. You need to be accurate and consistent. For taking a perfect shot, you need the right blend of confidence, concentration, and coordination. Good shooting is instinctive, instead of mechanical perfection. You have to hone it through persistent practice and good coaching just like any other athletic field.
So while I could make it in water, which is what most people consider difficult I couldn’t do well on land. While on water, you need to balance yourself and take control of the shot as well while keeping the target in focus, on land it is just your control and the target. Maybe the easy way made it hard for me! Anyway, after my initial failed attempt, my friend suggested I use an instructor. You may think that this type of extreme measure is not necessary for a single failed attempt. I actually tried two other such shots and all of them ended with the same degree of success or should I say failure!
The instructor, an expert in wolf hunting had me go through the ropes and helped me overcome my initial panic. I had taken my favorite air rifle for hunting, but the instructor said that it was a bad idea and advised me to use the nice fire rifle. I have a license but don’t use firearms much as I’m a pacifist. Since wolf hunting was all new area to me, I relied mostly on what my instructor said. Most hunters hunt wolves as a bonus trophy, while on a big game hunting trip, or when they keep watch on bait.
Guides usually scout the place until they find a fresh set of tracks. They then drive the wolf towards the direction of hunters. This is done in knee-deep snow in subzero condition. Mostly you use snowmobiles and four-wheel trucks. I’d say that wolf hunting is only for those who are really brave at heart. The serious and huge predators pose a big challenge as you may end up being their prey, if you are not careful.
The several layers of clothing were sort of annoying but with the weather down to 20 degrees I was not one to complain much about them. My instructor specializes in hunting wolves and is also a certified chiropractor and Labrador breeder. He had helped many hunters hunt wolves and had taken more than 50 wolves himself. So I was in good hands!
When everything is set I can see him get into wolf mode in a systemic manner. First thing he does is find timber blocks that range from 50 acres to 500 acres. Each block needs to have access with snowmobile or via road, river, or power line haul road. The next thing you need is a good bait. You need to have frozen and recently dead dairy cows, which are cut into about 200 pound chunks.
The hunters need to travel from single bait’s location to the next, to check whether the wolves are taking them. If they detect action, they circle the block and when they find tracks that go in but not come out, they set the trap. Transistor radios are placed along the paths and the hunters are the jaws of the set trap. While all this is well planned, things may go awry as it did for me first. But we did succeed after a few tries and the whole trip was totally awesome, making me long for my next wolf hunting trip