|Deer Carcass on Moundbounder|
Within the first mile of grooming, I quickly cut a lone wolf track, which seemed content to just follow the powdered surface of the trail heading west. The meandering tracks were easy to see-sunk deeply into the base getting wiped out by the ski trail groomer passing over them. I stopped a few times just to get a closer look. They soon veered off on an ungroomed trail, so I decided this day was the one to catch up and get it in skiing condition...besides, the tracks pulled me that way. A short trip and we merged onto the Moundbounder trail, the name implies a lot of hills and it does deliver. At the top of the first climb, the lone track melted into a mass of packed snow-canine tracks everywhere, like a wolf party zone. It stopped me in my...err, tracks. I couldn't believe, or understand why everything was tore up. I could see more tracks cascading off the ridge line above me onto this spot. Further below, something lay in the trail. The deer skull and spine, with snapped off ribs, had been dragged, pulled and wrestled with from the top of the ridge to the spot where it rested. That much of the story was now clear. I may have even disrupted the tug of war or the feeding frenzy that had taken place.
|Drag lines and Rib Patterns|
There were several places along the trail where earlier in the day or previous night, the wolves had taken advantage of the packed snow to wrestle, play or frolic, (if wolves do that) evidenced by the hundreds of tracks, "skid" marks and body slams in the snow. I wondered what this must look like live. The three (it appeared to be three wolves together at several tracking points) didn't appear to be fighting over scraps of food at those places-there was no blood or bone there, just a free for all as they loped along here and there. I'd seen this behavior last winter while grooming in fresh snow, seeing the imprint of their bodies and heads in the snow. They also appear to love snow "baths"-something our golden retriever would do, rolling around in the snow back and forth.
|Tracks of Wolf and Sue J.|
|Tracks on Corduroy-Second Pass|