The following is from an email Norman sent to several friends and family members in 2007 after settling back into life in Minnesota. Still missing his beloved Alaska, Norman found ways to savor and enjoy nature–or perhaps I should say, nature devised ways to reach him!

Sunday, October 12, 2007

The Wolves

Sylvia and I had business to do up in Cass County, Minnesota. Sylvia fixed a good breakfast of oatmeal. I put traveling and hunting gear in the car.

After we finished our business, we drove to some county land that is open to hunting. Sylvia set about gathering willow shoots of a size for weaving a basket. I set out to explore the area and perhaps see a squirrel. There are a lot of gray squirrels around there and some are black in color. Plus, there was a chance I might see a grouse. Early on I saw a chickadee, then a sandhill crane that was flying around as if lost from the rest of the flock. An eagle was soaring on the air currents.

After a bit, I came to a field that looked to be growing back a scattering of brush and tall grass. I stood there with my back to heavy brush, wearing blaze orange camo, just soaking up what there was to be seen.

After a few minutes, I noticed two bounding forms about a 150 yards out, coming in my direction. Clumps of willows hindered my view. At about 125 yards, they went behind willows. Shortly, a large wolf with a chunk of what looked like meat, came out in the open. I regretted having forgotten to bring my binoculars. The wolf dropped to its belly and consumed this meat, then rolled around on that area before getting to its feet and going back behind the willows. The other wolf exited out the other side of the willows.

In a little while, I saw three wolves at one time; they seemed to be playing. Then two came out on each side of the willow clump headed directly at me at a trot. They had looked my way several times, but always went back to eating or playing. Perhaps they decided to identify what it was they were looking at. When they got to about 60 yards from me, I touched off the right barrel of my 20 gauge; the shot going over their heads. The two big ones did a sharp 180 and left at a run towards the west. Wolves with a belly full of meat can’t run very fast. The other two split off, running to the north a couple hundred yards, then veered off to the east.

The fun being over, I then hunted on my way back to our parking place. Later I got to thinking about all this. I wished I had walked over to what must have been a kill site–but that would have been trespassing on someone else’s land.

So long for now,