Home

Getting a wolf line out in deep winter

Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 03:42 AM

Had my wolf line out before I went down to the ITA sale and also for some bird hunting with the dogs, but pulled all my traps because I wouldn't be back before our 72 hour check law. Now I've been paranoid about getting a line back out there. We've got a bunch of snow (for Idaho) with about 4 feet on the ground in my wolf area and I don't want to create a bunch of boot tracks or snowshoe tracks getting a line back out there. Just seems to me like a really good way to educate the wolves or have them avoid the area altogether. I initially got my sets out when there was just a few inches of snow and then it snowed on top of any sign I left. Caught another wolf, only to have it stolen, but did have some success. So what do you guys in Alaska do for setting a line in deep winter. I'm not snaring them due to our diverter requirement and an abundance of whitetails in my area. Whitetails love to duck under things. So I am only using footholds. Our wolf trapping season ends on March 31st. Usually by the end of February or beginning of March some of our south facing slopes will start to show some bare dirt, so I was considering waiting until then to get some steel in the ground. But I'm curious how you northern guys who use footholds do it. Or do you just set the area and then wait for the snow to cover your tracks in and place your traps under a heavy-branched tree for shelter? Thanks in advance.
Posted By: alaska viking

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 03:54 AM

Don't sweat making trails. They will follow them, with that kind of snow.
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 05:02 AM

Thanks, I appreciate that. I do worry about these highly pressured wolves and having the "easy" route in for them on the actual trail I came in on, as far as human scent is concerned.
Posted By: smalltimetrapper

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 06:11 AM

Don't know if you use a snowmachine, but if you do they will follow your trail. I've heard that they avoid snowshoe trails, but I don't have first hand knowledge of that.
Posted By: Pete in Frbks

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 10:43 AM

In deep snow conditions, it is not uncommon for wolves to follow snow machine trails for easier travel. As long as the snow machine trails are going approximately where the wolves wanted to go anyway!

One thing I have had luck with is putting all my weight on one side of the machine so that the track is slanted. The wolves will normally walk on the LOWER side. I make blind trail sets on the downhill side. Or break out your trail through some brush that will "funnel" the wolves to one side or the other of the track.

These trail sets have to be made carefully if you are going to drive over them with the machine. But it can be done. Alternatively, make the set and have an alternate way to drive the machine around that particular spot. Have the trail/blind set on the most direct route from A to B.

Pete
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 02:54 PM

Thanks Pete that is excellent info. I like the downhill thing. Makes sense. I have use of a snow machine. Buddy of mine is letting me borrow his for the winter.
Posted By: white17

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 04:10 PM

Be sure you take snowshoes !! With 4 feet of powder you will need them
Posted By: yukon254

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/22/20 08:55 PM

As usual you got good advice from the Alaskan boys. Those guys are top shelf trappers, so heed their advice. Wolves will follow snow shoe trails, at least in my area. One thing I have noticed over the years is that canines will most often travel trails right down the centre. Lynx on the other hand will usually walk on one side or the other. Wolverines will meander all over the place! A bit of info that can help when setting blind sets anyway. Good luck hope you get a bunch of them!
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/23/20 01:30 AM

Originally Posted by yukon254
As usual you got good advice from the Alaskan boys. Those guys are top shelf trappers, so heed their advice. Wolves will follow snow shoe trails, at least in my area. One thing I have noticed over the years is that canines will most often travel trails right down the centre. Lynx on the other hand will usually walk on one side or the other. Wolverines will meander all over the place! A bit of info that can help when setting blind sets anyway. Good luck hope you get a bunch of them!


Thanks and yes as always great advice from you Alaska fellas. Thanks a lot. I will post some pics for you when I get a line back out there. I sure hope to avoid catching a lynx or wolverine. We have them here but...
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/23/20 01:33 AM

Originally Posted by white17
Be sure you take snowshoes !! With 4 feet of powder you will need them


It's more like 4 feet of slush that by now I'm sure is down to 2 feet with our temps in the 30s and 40s all week. Last time I was up there, there was about 4 feet though.
Posted By: spotter

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/23/20 07:34 AM

Iíve never had any luck having wolves follow any snowshoe trails that Iíve been around but Pete is spot on about snogo trails on the low side. Also set multiples within fifty yards because you hook one and they will mill around the area for a while before they book out especially when you catch the alpha female.
Posted By: white17

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/23/20 02:34 PM

I too have had bad luck with canines and snowshoe tracks. but they love snowmachine trails.

The 2 feet of 'slush' you describe is the worst sort of conditions you could have. Very difficult to keep a foothold running in that sort of stuff. I understand your aversion to diverters but snares might be the correct choice in those conditions
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/24/20 01:39 AM

White17 we can't use snares for wolves without diverters, but you are right snares would be the best options on these conditions. I just am hesitant since there are a lot of deer in my wolf areas as well as moose.
And yeah the slush will just freeze and then the trap won't fire. After talking with another wolf trapper here I'm waiting until the conditions improve and some south facing slopes open up.
Posted By: white17

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/24/20 03:22 AM

Yep I know you have to use diverters. Gulo might have some specific ideas for you. Maybe a PM will rouse him


You might even consider some hay sets. Never tried that on wolves but it might work.
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/24/20 08:47 PM

Good idea white. I've used them on coyotes with success. Maybe some beaver guts and a foothold or two in the hay. Probably would help avoid the slush
Posted By: Machias

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/24/20 09:09 PM

Originally Posted by Wild_Idaho
Good idea white. I've used them on coyotes with success. Maybe some beaver guts and a foothold or two in the hay. Probably would help avoid the slush



Better hurry Eric, before they all drown!! smile
Posted By: spotter

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/25/20 10:38 PM

If you know of any dog mushers down there, see if you can get some used hay from their dogs. Seems like the wolves here always checks that stuff out. Good luck.
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/26/20 01:48 AM

I'm working on that exact same thing but with hound dogs. Not many mushers down here but lots of hound guys. I have bird dogs. Might make them sleep on straw for a few weeks.
Posted By: Pete in Frbks

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/26/20 12:23 PM

Used hay/straw and bits of "brown and yellow" snow and ice make for a REALLY excellent site to set wolf traps in! OK, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY great set!

pb
Posted By: bearcat2

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/30/20 12:38 PM

Used dog bedding (straw, hay, etc.) does attract the wolves. But give some thought to where you set the trap and how you cover it. They tend to dig or scratch and kick at the straw with dog scent on it. Never tried it myself although I have plenty of it around with a pack of hounds tied up. I had a couple friends who tried it and it attracted the wolves but they dug the whole 'strawed' area up, including the traps.
Posted By: decoy

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 01/30/20 08:46 PM

Okay, so info on trap placement using straw, yellow snow, etc.
Posted By: bearcat2

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 02/09/20 06:47 AM

Sorry, not been around the computer. I've not used it, just known others that had problems with the wolves digging the traps up. So I can't give any personal advice on where exactly to place the traps. Just give it some thought. I would maybe use used straw as an attractant and possibly try setting the traps in some clean straw off to the side with yellow snow or better yet, bringing an actual male dog along and letting him pee on stuff and then set the traps there. I've seen that be successful while trapping dry ground. Just walk a dog or two down an old grade the wolves use and note where they pee (males that have been hauled around in the truck for a few hours WILL pee on something) and then setting traps there.
Posted By: Wild_Idaho

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 02/11/20 01:58 PM

Thanks guys yes I do use my dogs quite a bit with regards to canine trapping. I've definitely had success with coyotes that way. Wolves no different I bet. When checking my wolf sets I always bring one of my dogs on a leash with me in the hopes that their scent might help distract the wolves from any scent I'm leaving
Posted By: Jumperzee

Re: Getting a wolf line out in deep winter - 02/16/20 08:05 PM

I certainly wouldn't discourage you from trying some sort of dog bedding/hay set, but no one I know has been successful with it (tried it) mostly because it requires the conditions to remain stable for longer than they do. Trying to bed a trap in anything other than dirt is an exercise in frustration, at least for me. The slush just sucks to deal with and it's made harder by the fact that the wolves are still consistently visiting baits and set locations this time of year, even more so now in some areas.

Even though there's a super-low probability of catching one in these conditions, your time isn't lost...what you're learning about where/how they're travelling and habits this time of the year will pay dividends for next year. They travel differently when the snow/slush piles up and your snare (and foothold) locations will become more evident. I just picked one up the other day in a snare I hung and hadn't touched since mid-October (been checking them of course). Without deep snow, the location isn't something that would have stood out - just a random spot where a snare's been hanging. After the winter snow/slush sets up it becomes a little "tunnel" of sorts that funnels wolf movement into the location. Have picked up two in that location and is one of the few areas/situations I do use snares as all the deer have long since moved out of that area and it's an established bait site that I keep their interest in with a random bone or two.

The bait sites that you got out earlier will be good spots once the snow starts melting back and breaking up. Any bones that start protruding the snow will be magnets. If there's a tree or two around those areas that has or will melt off to dirt, get a set established there and be patient. A good stinky dirt hole is my go-to this time of year. While you're out checking scout around for the locations along wolf travel routes that are melting off - these are good places to establish a bait next year, or even this year. Still plenty of time left.
© 2020 Trapperman Forums