The Mangy Wolf

Here is my attempt at a photograph of the local mangy wolf. Another area blogger, Sue at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters , wrote recently about this wolf. The wolf has set up housekeeping on the south shore of Gunflint Lake, as she has been seen widely throughout our area.

I say she, because Greg believes that it is a female wolf, based on observations of her and some of her habits. Another person, who saw her in pursuit of a deer, concurred. He was driving on the Mile of Pine road, when a deer came careening onto the road, with this wolf in pursuit. The wolf paused for a moment to urinate in the road, and didn't seem to be bothered by the car at all.

In late December, three wolves were in the yard of Sharlene, Greg's mom. She was watching them go about their business, and then she noticed the mangy wolf hanging around, too. She said that it was very evident that the lone wolf was not allowed to be anywhere near the other three. It was as though they were shunning her. It makes sense, as they need to protect themselves from the mange. That same trio was spotted a day later, right on the ice in front of our cabin called Birch. One of the three had a noticeable problem with its gait when it ran. We suspect that it had a dislocated shoulder.

Several folks in the last weeks had been telling me that they were seeing this mangy wolf, but it was a long time before I finally caught a glimpse of her. One of the first things I noticed was how large her head seemed in proportion to her body. Then I realized that it is because the body of a healthy wolf is fluffed up and filled out with a thick coat of hair at this time of the year. While she is definitely lacking in a decent coat, she does not look as sickly as a mangy wolf that we saw several years ago when we had chickens. At that point, I should say we had one rooster. That mangy wolf came in to the yard to try and get Blizzard, to give him the same fate as the two little hens we had lost the previous night. That wolf looked to be in much worse shape and it was summertime. This girl actually looks like she might pull through. We give her credit for making it through two cold snaps so far.

She also has the habit of dropping a large pile of scat at the bottom of the highline ski trail, out near our gravel pit. It is certainly a decent pile she leaves, noticeably full of fur. So it appears that she is able to still hunt and pursue in order to get protein into her diet.

Though I haven't been able to find out the possibility of this, we are hoping that she can survive the winter and somehow rid herself of the mange.