Feb 25-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: February: Feb 25-10
Pack of 5    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
On the ice    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Closer look    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:11 am:

When E. Neil Harri sent me the wolf photos here today, I didn't think to ask him if he shot these wolves as part of the wolf count that he normally flys over the U.P. to do, but I'm assuming that's the case. If so, he added five to the count with this picture today. You can plainly see the four that are on the frozen creek, but did you spot the fifth one in the photo? In either the first or second shot, you can see it lying at the base of the pine trees, to the right of the opening that goes up the middle of them. None of this pack seem to be bothered at all by the hum of Neil's plane up above them, as they aren't looking up to see what's passing over them, like we humans often do when we hear a plane soaring overhead. Shows how comfortable these creatures feel when they're in a group like this... makes me that much happier to be viewing them from a safe distance, rather than meeting up with them on a snowshoe trek through the woods. Thanks Neil, for a glimpse of nature that we wouldn't otherwise get to see.

By Donna (Donna) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:17 am:

Wow....very cool...thank you!

Don't forget to vote for the CC Humane Society!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:55 am:

WOW! Those pictures are awesome! Thanks!

By Uncle Chuck at Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:57 am:

Great Photos!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:45 am:

Very nice! This scene looks like the UP version of Olympic figure skating.

By BH (Deerlover) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:47 am:

These are the terrible animals that murder deer.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:55 am:

Unfortunately, it's the wolf's job to eat deer in the food chain. There are no fast food places for wolves to go (except maybe someone's chicken coop).

By Cindy, New Baltimore, MI (Cindy) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:58 am:

Those are amazing photos! Maybe Neil would share approximately where he saw those wolves. I'm curious about that, and I bet there are others, too. Thanks, Neil, for sharing those great pics.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:58 am:

If you have a problem with wolves BH, I suggest you take it up on the "Politics and Religion" page by starting a new thread there.....

By Mary Oliveto (Maoliveto) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:07 am:

Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing with everyone.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:16 am:

Yes these are animals that eat deer, calves, sheep/lambs, small dogs, rodents, etc. it's called Nature's food chain!

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:38 am:

Such good pictures! I also would like to know what area this is.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:45 am:

The wolf lying on the ice reminds me of our Alaskan Malemute, who was perfectly comfortable at -5F but who would lie down againt the side of the above ground swimming pool in the summer to cool off.

By Yooperguide (Huntandfish) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:45 am:

There are more than 600 wolves in the U.P. and another 600 in Wisconsin. That number is growing about 12 percent to 15 percent per year. As a result, both state and federal agencies are now pushing for the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:50 am:

I did take these shots as part of our annual wolf count. It is required by the feds that states keep a count of them as part of endangered spieces act. Once they get delisted, we still have to moniter them for 5 years.
One of these animals is radio collared. That is how I can find the packs.
David Mech is probably the most notable wolf researcher in the lower 48. He started on Isle Royale in the "60's". Read some of his research to get an education on these animals.
Love them or hate them. They are here to stay. It is good to learn about their role in the ecosystem.
These were in a remote section of Gogebic County.
I see the lack of logging as our biggest problem for winter deer survival. I heard there are only 4 jobs active on the Ottawa Nat'l Forest.
I see very few logging jobs anywhere in the UP.

By Deb L. (Lakegirl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:53 am:

What some awesome photos!!! Its such a shame that this interesting and highly intelligent animal is so misunderstood. Its to bad that people aren't better educated about the vital roll these animals play in our eco system. Living were I do, these animals are part of my world. I have a very healthy respect for them. I am a visitor in THEIR world, not the other way around. Lets remember that. I totally agree with the captain!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:59 am:

Neil, very interesting reading! One U.P. snowmobile vacation my husband and I were on we came upon a small group of very sickly, starving deer. A very sad sight to see, wolves would have been great help to these poor things.

By Martha Kirk (Misschiefie) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 09:01 am:

Wrong sport, Alex. Looks to me more like ice hockey, and the guy up by the tree just got sent to the penalty box for an illegal check on the guy laying on the ice.

By Deb L. (Lakegirl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 09:07 am:

Good one Martha, That made me laugh--which I really needed this morning. Thanks.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 09:20 am:

In my experience, I would say the alpha male is lying in the trees. The alpha female is closest to him. It is mating season so they are staying close.
The others are in a defensive stance.

By Stephanie (Stefani13) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 09:25 am:

Beautiful and fascinating!

By Bruce Kee (Brucekee) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 10:40 am:

I am a lover of nature deer, wolves etc. as I feel all have a place and are essential to the balance of the ecosystem. I am gifted in the ability to spend many hours outdoors and have seen many wolves, some up close through the years I have lived in the UP. I think these photos are wonderful but I have to challenge them. Based on my unprofessional but extensive personal experience of both wolves and coyotes I think the animal lying on the ice is a coyote. I am sure the radio collared animal must be a wolf or it would not have been tagged. But IF the animal lying on the ice is a coyote this would suggest the other animals walking on the ice are coyote as well. My theory (although may be way off base!) is that the coyotes are waiting for the wolf to weaken so that they can move in for the kill. These are great pictures, thank you, and I hope I am wrong but again I felt it important to voice my thoughts because an accurate wolf count is essential to the wolves survival in the UP and everywhere. Thanks!

By Robert Goniea (Rjgoniea) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 10:53 am:

I believe Bruce is mistaken, because if I recall correctly, wolves are much larger than coyotes. Those animals are all roughly the same size.
I just found a picture demonstrating the difference in size:

By Bruce Kee (Brucekee) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 11:07 am:

I agree Robert but I have seen some 45 to 50 lb coyotes. As well as some 60 lb wolves. The animal up in the trees looks larger to me. But you are probably correct.

By jeremy rowe (Rowejm51) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 11:50 am:

Deer are horrible animals that murdered my cedar bush at my camp

By sometimesyooper (Nancyd) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:55 pm:

I know a thing or two about coyotes. First, look at the feet. Even if you have a large coyote, it won't have feet the size of the animals in the photos. Second, look at the face. Coyotes have a shorter snout and are not as broad in the forehead. Third, wolves have a broader chest. Those are wolves. I am excited that there are so many wolves in the U.P. Does anyone know if they are in the Keweenaw?

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 01:10 pm:

They are definatley all wolves. I have other shots of them standing together.
Coyotes have short skinny legs and pointy noses.

Other animals that kill deer are black bears,fishers, bocats and even eagles.
I have seen a wolf kill bear cubs it dragged out of a hollow tree stump. Our wildlife person has found a fisher jawbone in wolf scat.
They kill coyotes which I think kill more fawns than wolves.
I see a lot of wolf den sites located near active beaver dams. They eat a lot of beaver in the spring.
WE had an eagle that killed a fawn last spring and carried it to the nest where they reclaimed the research collar.
I am sending photos of wolf killed deer to the the longest serving eagle researcher in the country, Sergej Postupalsky. He is looking at research that shows the wolf comeback has helped the eagles survival in the winter by feeding on kill sites. There are some photos of that on my Pasty photo gallery. Warning- They are messy.
My point is wolves also kill predators which kill deer. it is a complex issue and research is being done. The Federal government is in charge of their management at this time.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 01:18 pm:

You can tell these are wolves by the beautiful fur coats. Coyotes are always messed up by roadrunners. Beep-beep!

By Rowdy (Roudymi) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 01:28 pm:

Bruce isn't really Bruce either. He might be somebody else. Right Bruce?

By Bruce Kee (Brucekee) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 02:06 pm:

It is so great to see the wolves making a comeback! I had a pack of 8 run on the river just up from my house. I just saw their tracks but since fall have seen 4 wolves up close and personal in the Rock area.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 02:08 pm:

Beautiful photos, Neil! Alex, you stole my 'idea'...my thought on seeing the wolves around the ice was they were having their own "Winter Olympics on Ice". :) I love all animals and hate to see any killed, but I agree with all of you who brought up the fact of the 'natural food-chain'. They all need to fend for themselves.

By BH (Deerlover) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 02:21 pm:

Wolves look nice until they kill bambies, calves and other beautiful animals. I would support a gun season on them before they eliminate all animals in our precious ecosystem.

Like the hot selling T-shirt says "smoke a pack a wolves a day".

By Tammy Steckbeck (Tls) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 03:47 pm:

Wow - so beautiful. I hope the gun season NEVER gets passes or Ol' BH will be out there ruthlessly destroying nature. It's a shame people don't understand that WE moved into their world - not the other way around.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 04:43 pm:

By BH (Deerlover) on Thursday, February 25, 2010
These are the terrible animals that murder deer.
Wolves look nice until they kill bambies, calves and other beautiful animals.

Well BH, I guess we better add humans to that list because whether or not you want to believe it, they "murder" more deer in 2 weeks than wolves, bear, eagles, fishers, and every other quadraped in one year combined!!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:10 pm:

I eat deer too! Venison pepper sticks are the best!!!

By Patty Bentley (Plattpatty) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:30 pm:

Wait, I have an idea, BH: Why don't you go to Alaska and hang out with Sarah Palin? You can watch Russia from there and we'll export all those nasty wolves she likes to "hunt" from an airplane to the UP where the wolves clearly know they don't have to fear the sound of an airplane.
I'm a first-timer to the Pasty-cam but I never got over my joy of Yoopering. Thanks. I've bookmarked you now.

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:44 pm:

I was under the impression that “murder” is the unlawful killing with malice. When wolves kill, they kill for food, which I don’t believe is a malicious activity. In addition, that killing becomes a very important part of a very complex food web, upon which many beautiful animals depend. A century and a half ago, Lord Tennyson recognised that nature can at times be difficult when he wrote, “Nature, red in tooth and claw.” Although at times it can be difficult to see, everything has a place in the grand beauty of nature.

Although I am a firm believer that everyone has a right to their own opinion, I also believe that before forming opinions, one should educate oneself about the topic. I would hate to flaunt my ignorance on such a public forum. As a scientist, I hope these beautiful photos make people look into the fascinating ecology surrounding wolf packs, and the fascinating relationships within a pack.

By Carol Van Der Woude (Cvanderwoude) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:47 pm:

Beautiful pictures and great discussion. The comments on
differentiating a wolf from a coyote are interesting.

By Donna (Donna) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:50 pm:

Wait till the monitoring of the cougars!

Yes..the wolf is in the Keweenaw..actually, all over in the Copper Country.

Janie..you crack me up! LOL Go girl!

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 05:58 pm:

I posted that photo to share a part of the little
seen, wild side of our beautiful state. I am glad
it stimulated some good conversation on both sides
of the issue.
It is a current hot button topic. The state has a
management plan for the wolf. They cannot
implement it because it keeps getting put back on
the endangered list through lawsuits challenging
the delisting.
It is good to make your views known on this
subject. No matter which side you support.
Time to go eat my venison burgers.

By Bruce Kee (Brucekee) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:34 pm:

I read an interesting book not too long ago which spoke on the relationship between our very early ancestors and wolves. At some point, many, many years ago humans formed an alliance with wolves. Not sure if humans chose wolves or visa versa but it is clear the bond was formed. Our dogs of course are direct ancestors of the wolf. The early bond was most likely formed to assist in hunting. Resources were combined to get more food. Humans had tools and wolves had speed and a greater ability to scent. A deadly combination to assist in the survival of species. I find it interesting that to this day I have not heard of a healthy wolf killing a human. Humans have tried to drive the wolf from this planet by all kinds of inhumane methods. Have you ever seen pictures of wolves being poisened by humans and what suffering these animals go through? For no purpose but to kill them. Not to eat them or anything like that, just to kill. It seems that humans are starting to realize the importance of the wolf and the bond formed early on. Anyone who has and loves their dog has only the wolf to thank. And maybe, just maybe some of us would not even be here if our ancestors had not formed that bond. The people of Native America held the wolf in high esteem. It was respected for its strength, cunning, skills etc. They realized that without the wolf this world is not the same. Brother wolf is very true in a sence. They keep nature in balance. Fact is, that without humans the rest of the planet survives just fine. The wolf was in America long before most of us were even born and has a right to stay and be respected. I heard of a woman who lost her life several weeks ago due to a deer/car related accident. There are plenty of deer to go around and it is clear that deer kill humans indirectly and wolves do not. Maybe if the wolves take a few more deer in the winter there are less human/deer related accidents. We have much to thank the wolf for in my opinion. It is our responsiblity to ensure their survival.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 06:45 pm:

Man and wolf always have had a complex relation. The Native Americans respected them as fellow hunters with a definite place in the scheme of things. The Euro-Americans arrived with livestock and property rights and proceeded to eradicate both the Native Americans and the wolf. The wolf long has been a dark figure in "white" superstitions so there has been an unnatural fear of wolves and hate towards them. We did such a good job of eradicating wolves down here in Illinois, we are now overrun with deer - at great cost to crops, landscape, and of course vehicle damage. The great white hunters are barely able to make a dent in the population. It is a misguided idea that wolves weaken the deer herds. Wolves are pragmatic - they kill and eat the easy prey (sick, slow, old, young), if nature is left alone, you end up with a healthy deer herd and healthy wolves. We are now finding that modern hunting is a reverse selection process; hunters tend to shoot the trophy animals which means the nerds of the herd are getting all the action while the studs are getting blown away by the nimrods. End result is fewer big bucks because it is dangerous to be a big buck.
So let's give the wolf some respect and let him alone.
Before I am tagged as bleeding heart liberal tree hugger, I eat meat of all kinds, have killed animals when it was necessary, own rifles, and served in the military. I also have no problem with responsible hunting. I have noticed in this life, that the military can train just about any 18 year old how to kill in 16-20 weeks. It does, however, take 4-12 years to train some exceptional 18 year old to a point where they can keep a person or animal alive. It is our choice as to which skill set demands more admiration.
Nice pictures Neil. May the wolves live long and prosper

By Joann Agnes Lahti (Packerbacker) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 07:35 pm:

Beautiful pictures--have seen a wolfe here and there in LLB area.Some said it was a coyote, but when I pulled the car over and watched it in the woods its steely eyes stared at me and it slowly moved along with the car about 20 ft in the woods. Coyotes are more skidish and manegy looking. I attended the seminar at TECH about the wolves of Isle Royle I learned a lot, plus them in relation to our eco system. I've heard them howl up LLB way and checked scat while berry picking and it wasn't bear droppings Thank you for the picture and the interest everyone has in them. Northern WI has one of the largest active packs--I think around here--have seen them too, south of Superior.

By Uncle Chuck at Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 09:15 pm:

BH, you kiddin me? Wake up!

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 10:30 pm:

Great pics! Thanks for sharing, Neil.

I have seen a couple of big coyotes down here in northeast Georgia; if I didn't know better, I would have tho't they were wolves.

We have deer out the wazoo! The coyotes don't seem to have much effect on their population. Deer eat up all but a few landscaping plants around our houses. Body shops love the auto repair they send in!

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 11:22 pm:

I usually eat that beef stuff that you buy in stores from killed cows ... by the thousands with stun guns ... by humans. Food chain.

We're all in this. What happens when all the wildlife is gone ?

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
Chief Seattle, 1854

By David S. (Yooperdfs) on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 11:33 pm:

I think it's all a matter of coexistence. Man, deer, bears and wolves can occupy the rural areas without too many problems. If someone wants to get upset about human/animal interaction, just wait until a cougar drags a hiker or skier off the trail. Then we can get a real debate going.

By Yahoo in Flatland (Yahooinflatland) on Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 12:30 am:

Great conversation on this photo/topic.
I had a very immediate reaction to BH's 1st post, but I am glad I read ALL the comments before posting... you all added some very thought provoking ideas & reactions, and some very well placed humor too. :-)
BH, I hope you can read all this and take it constructively and learn from what was said in this forum.
I know I learned a lot today, not just about wolves; and I say thank you to all who contributed.

By Jack M. Penkivech (Kuba42) on Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 09:42 am:

Hey everyone, great photos and great discussion. Thanks, Neil.
It appears that there are a lot of people interested in the wolves pictured as well as wolves in general. It seems that there are varying degrees of knowledge about wolves along with some anthropomorphism and political opinion. And I love it all!
I suugest that a good book to read, regarding wolves, would be, "Never Cry Wolf", by Farley Mowat. I first read it in 1964. It is available from amazon.com; and,I imagine, at many local libraries.
So you can get an idea of the book and it's author, I have included a link.

By Lynn White (Lynndee) on Monday, March 1, 2010 - 02:30 pm:

Great photos! They look like Coyotes to me too. Looking forward to seeing Wolverine back in the U.P. Perhaps then it can become the state mammal again.

By Lisa R. (Sisugirl) on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 11:51 pm:

Bruce Kee wrote: "I find it interesting that to this day I have not heard of a healthy wolf killing a human."

Actually, you're wrong on that, Bruce. (I've been on vacation, so arriving late to this series of posts, sorry.)

In North America, it happened in 11/8/2005, and it was a pack of healthy wolves early in winter that had become habituated to humans and associated humans with a food source. For more information:



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