Wolf season opened in Wyoming on Oct. 1. It’s about time! You’ve seen all the recovery data and any level-headed person realizes that the wolf recovery goals have been met, and exceeded expectations. It’s time to manage this species as a trophy game animal, and in some instances, as a predator.
Are you ready to tackle one of nature’s most elusive predators?
Here are a few wolf hunting tips to help make your wolf hunt a howling success:
Choose the right wolf hunting gun and ammunition combo. Wolves are bigger than the average coyote. A big coyote might weigh-in at 40 pounds and be all your .204 Ruger wants to handle. A mature wolf—especially the Alberta breed running the Rockies—could tip the scales at 100 pounds or more if it just dined on an elk calf. My suggestion is to use enough gun and never consider yourself “over gunned.”
Your .22-250 Rem. will work, but a better choice might be the .243 Win., .25-06 Rem. or the 6.5 Creedmoor teamed up with quality ammunition such as Hornady’s Superformance selection. Any caliber of this power and up is perfect medicine for a tough wolf. Customize the caliber to a bullet that minimizes pelt damage and you should be ready for a new rug. And because wolves are truly pack animals, you should consider a rifle (or shotgun) with a magazine. I have nothing against single-shots, and I can shoot my T/C Encore Pro Hunter with speed and efficiency. Nevertheless, if a pack shows up I want to waylay as many as possible, especially in Wyoming’s predator zone.
Pair a wolf hunt with another hunt. Strategy differs depending on your location, but simply purchasing a tag and carrying it during a big game season is a great way to start wolf hunting. If you plan on hunting a wolf-rich Western state, then have a wolf tag in your pocket. Someone has to win the wolf lottery and you can’t do it without purchasing a wolf lottery ticket in the form of a hunting permit. And because you’ll be hunting the same big game species as a wolf, you'll be in the crossover zone. They dine on what you dine on, so be ready.
Consider wolf hunting calls. Like coyotes, wolves respond to a variety of prey-in-distress calls. Although the smaller calls work, especially favorites like the cottontail or jackrabbit, a bigger meal might be more inviting to a pack. Cow elk, fawn deer, goats, piglets and other larger critters provide a bigger bounty for wolves and should be mixed in to see what piques a wolf’s interest. Calling setups are similar, but remember: Unlike a coyote, which might come in as a single or a pair, wolves could show up as a pack. That’s enough to intimidate any seasoned predator hunter.
Also like coyotes, you can howl in a wolf, but the howl of a wolf is much deeper and without the yipping that often accompanies a coyote clan. Bugling Bull Calls makes the Alpha Wolf Howler. You can also play around with various diaphragm calls and a megaphone to authenticate the howl of a wolf. If you need to find the sounds of a howl to imitate, simply type in “wolf howl” on your Internet search engine. Wolf lovers have made sure the Web is full of high-quality sounds.
Hunt winter wolves where wolves hunt. After big game season, focus your hunt on areas that harbor large densities of winter game and livestock. Wolves will be nearby as they target winter-weary game animals and livestock that ranchers have moved to valleys for easy feeding access.
Wolves are here to stay so you might as well try and put your crosshairs on one. It’s a trophy species that will be hard to top in your hunting career.