The other day I read a story on the news about a lone wolf that was trailing snowmobilers as they drove through Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. Apparently there were three separate cases reported of this wolf running alongside snowmobilers, over a 10-day period, in the park's Ash River area. The wolf, which apparently doesn't have a pack to run with, hasn't attacked anyone, but this is strange behavior for an animal that normally avoids human contact. Park officials decided to shut down several sections of the trail about halfway between International Falls and Crane Lake for the safety of the public.

I'm not an animal behavior expert, but the first thing that came to mind as I was reading this story was that it sounds like he was just chasing the snowmobiles like a dog will chase after a car. The other thing I thought was, if this wolf was only running with large groups of sleds, that maybe they were its surrogate pack.

Or maybe the wolf was sizing them up for its next meal. I can tell you right now that my only run-in with a wolf where I wasn't in a car made me feel like I was the desired lunch. A few years ago, my son and I went to Yellowstone. He used to work out there during the summers so I rode along with him and we spent a week camping and exploring the park before he had to report to work. One afternoon we had pulled over and gotten out of the car to get some pictures down by the river. Out of the trees on the other side of the river emerged a large black wolf, who definitely had his eyes on us. It ranged back and forth on the other bank trying to figure out how to reach us, but luckily it was early enough in the season and the rivers were still running high so its wasn't able to get across. I did get some nice pictures, unfortunately not digital ones.

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