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Few animals cause as much controversy as the wolf.
Their rugged and savage beauty has inspired people throughout the world.
While they’re considered an apex carnivore, their grace in capturing their prey or how they hunt is undeniable.
While many people love wolves, their are many others that do not. This is especially true for some hunters, and even farmers, who may already be dealing with the damage that deer can do to crops.
Add in the occasional missing livestock animals and it’s easy to see why wolves may not be a farmer’s favorite animal.
However, it’s hard to deny that the wolf (or Canis lupus) has captured the world’s imagination for centuries.
As these wild creatures continue to roam the land, they’ll continue to keep us in awe for more to come.
Wolves have been the inspiration for artists and also prey to those who hunt them, and make up an essential part of the world’s ecology.
Species of Wolves
Depending on where you live, knowing what wolf species can be found in your area will help if you’re a hunter or a farmer.
Preparing yourself by knowing which species of wolf that may roam your area is essential for protecting your property or helping to thin the pack.
In addition to learning how big the various species of wolves get, you may also be wondering where do wolves live? This list will help you with that question as well.
A question often asked is… how big do wolves get? Well, it depends on the species. But, regardless of species, they all are impressive animals in the wild.
The Grey Wolf
If there’s a standard image for a wolf, then the Grey Wolf (or GRAY wolf) is what goes through many people’s minds.
Grey wolves are massive creatures. Adult grey wolves can stretch from four to six feet long and can weigh from as much as a medium-sized dog at forty pounds, to an impressive one-hundred seventy pounds.
Keep in mind that wolves over a hundred pounds are relatively rare, but it’s possible to see one if you’re in the right area. Grey wolves are found in North America and Eurasia.
And, while these animals are wild, the chances of them attacking you are extremely rare. No matter how Hollywood portrays them, they’d rather keep their distance from you.
Wolves will also hunt and eat smaller animals such as beavers, rabbits, and rodents. These smaller animals will supplement their average dietary needs. Wolves are also known to eat fish, but this isn’t common.
While meat is the main staple of a wolf’s diet, they have been known to eat berries as well. Still, the quantities are relatively small and not considered a dietary need.
Wolves have a large appetite and can eat up to twenty pounds of meat in a single meal.
While wolves can eat a lot, their eating habits can be feast or famine. So, if they find food, they’ll eat a lot of it. This gorging is especially helpful in sustaining them for the times when they can’t find much to eat.
While wolves are carnivores, they prefer to be as far from humans as possible. They travel in packs that can range for up to a dozen wolves. However, packs aren’t as tight as many would think. Wolves will leave an area if there are no resources and will only seek a new mate if their current one dies.
If seeing pictures of a huge buck and reading the play-by-play story of the hunt excites you, then read below for some great stories about some unforgettable archery bucks.
“Close Call”: The Backstory Of This 18-Point Monster Buck
I saw this deer on camera around mid-December of 2016 and became obsessed. I had hundreds and hundreds of pictures of him. In February, I noticed he hadn’t been to the area or fed at the feeder, so I started looking for his sheds.
I found one side (which was the side I wanted the most). He was at my best guess a 15 point, and had 10 points on the shed I found.
It sucked my attention in even deeper.
My wife got so sick of hearing about “close call.”
Now, I never name deer, but he had what looked like a gunshot wound in his right ear, so I dubbed him “close call.” After I found his shed, I focused a lot of attention on the area where I knew this huge buck was.
In April of 2017, he showed back up, with just 2 or 3 inch nubs on his head. Of course, because of his ears, and my obsession, I knew it was him. He stuck around for a few weeks, and then of course, disappeared again and remained out of view until around June, when he came back. He stayed close by and on camera sometimes 3 different times a day from June on.
I’m from Kentucky, and our season comes in really early, so I was counting down the days and doing my very best to just keep him around.
Around the first of August, he quit feeding at the feeder, but was still visible in the open. Our archery season opened on September 2 this year, and in my mind, I had him in the bag. I ran up to 4 cams to keep my eyes on him, and one was a Spartan cell cam.
It kept me from frequenting the area, and I knew instantly when he was there. On August 31st I have video of him in the broad daylight at what would have been an 18 yard shot for me.
My confidence was out the roof. The season opened and I spent the next 6 days in the stand. I only hunted him of an evening, seeing I never had a picture or anything of a morning of him. But, over those 6 days, he never showed his face at all.
In my mind, I knew he was probably just laying low and in the process of shedding his velvet. I backed off for a few days and would keep my eye on my cameras, thinking I had applied too much pressure.
He finally showed back up but had gone completely nocturnal. Around the 15th of September, he had completely vanished. I just knew someone else had gotten him I told no one but a very tight group about this deer.
Then, one day I was at my son’s football practice and heard someone talking about a huge buck they had seen in the area where the buck lived. I then knew he was still alive, but it worried me that someone would do something stupid to him.
For the next 2 weeks, the buck would only show up about ever 4-6 days for a brief minute, and in the middle of the night. He was playing hide ‘n seek. At least I knew he was still alive, is all I could think of. I stayed away and didn’t hunt for weeks.
On September 26, while away from home, my cell phone dings and there he is. It’s 4 in the evening and I’m not in the woods, so I figured my one chance had come and gone. I looked closely at the forecast and figured I could hunt the 28th and 29th because there was a cool front coming, and the wind would be perfect.
I hunted the 28th and nothing... Not a single deer.
I was kind of skeptical, but wouldn’t give up. My wife and I had plans for the evening of the 29th, but she was okay with me hunting for a few hours that evening. I got there around 4:30 that evening and it was calm and perfect.
I texted my wife and told her, “this would be the perfect evening for him to show up. It’s so quiet and calm.” She told me that it was okay if I stayed till dark, before we went out. She understood my obsession more than anyone.
At around 5:45, I had a small buck come in. He wasn’t there long and left.
The Staredown And An Errant Shot?
I was just enjoying the evening being in the woods. Around 6:25 or so, I decided I’d try a little very light rattling (seeing it worked the year before). About 10-15 minutes after I heard what sounded like a cough or something from the hill across from me.
I focused my full attention to that area. I saw movement coming my way…. a small basket 8 point I had on cam.
As soon as he came out, I saw a second deer coming. It turned out to be the small 3 point that was there earlier in the evening. After he came out, it still sounded like more deer were coming.
Low and behold, I look in the timber and here he comes. I instantly began become overwhelmed. The buck came out, just like I had planned, but he looked right at me. He turned around like he was going to head back into the timber, so I drew on him. He was quartering away at 21 yards.
I held tight and left the arrow fly.
Instantly I knew I had just messed up on the buck of a lifetime.
The shot looked super high. I was sick. I set back and text my wife and told her I had just shot him. Then, I went over the shot in my head 100 times. I went and retrieved the arrow and looked it over. It appeared to have really good blood, so I wasn’t so sure I had hit it high.
My wife finally showed up, and we went looking. It was the first time she had ever tracked and she was super excited. We continued to find good blood, then about 70 yards in the timber, there be laid. He couldn’t handle that arrow after all.
There he was. A buck of my lifetime….the one I had become so obsessed over.
This buck gross scored 177 7/8”, even though he was only 14 ½” wide. He has 18 scoreable points. This buck is my biggest to date, and the most gratifying as well.
John Workman saw trophy buck success again in 2018, with this Kentucky bruiser.
Big Kentucky Buck Fame Comes Again!
I would have to say the story of my success in the 2018 Kentucky deer season has to date back to September 29th of 2017. On that date, I was fortunate enough to take a Boone and Crockett class Kentucky buck (the full story above.)
Once the word got out about that deer, my social media went kind of crazy. One day, while roaming through Facebook, I noticed I had a random message from someone in my area. He asked questions and persistently talked about my 2017 buck.
I kind of blew it off at first, because when it comes to hunting, I usually keep my stuff mainly a secret. But, one thing led to another, and we talked a little here and there.
One day I was at the local archery shop just hanging out, and in came this same guy. So, we finally met face-to-face and began to develop a friendship. His name is Kyle Groce. He is a bit younger than me, but we both share a passion for deer hunting.
As the winter progressed, he learned that I do a lot of food plotting. He wanted to develop his hunting property into a sanctuary so that the deer don’t have to travel to get what they want.
In mid-April he offered to let me hunt this same land if I would do the food plots for him. I knew the area, so I agreed without hesitation.
In May, the weather finally cooperated so hat I could get started on the plots I agree to cut, till and sow. I began the process of bush hogging. While cutting a plot, this buck comes out and watched me like he was in awe that someone was there doing something.
At the first look, I realized he was going to be a good buck worth chasing once the early season came.
September 1st finally arrived and Kyle and I already had our game plans set in stone. He was getting some good deer on camera, and I was getting my buck in two different locations during the daylight hours.
On opening day, I got in the stand around 5 o’clock AM, fearing that I might bump this big boy going in.
That first morning came and went. I saw a lot of deer and some small bucks, but not the big Kentucky buck I was after. Of course, early September in Kentucky its pretty warm… like, 90 degrees warm! So, I got out of my stand and headed home.
There was no way I was staying all day in the stand in that heat.
Around 3:30 that afternoon, I started to get ready to head back to the stand. I showered, gathered my equipment and headed that way. I got in the stand around 4:30 and got things set up, and instantly I had action.
A mature doe and her fawn came in and stayed in my area for about 30 or so minutes, so I was upbeat and positive. Deer came and went all evening, both bucks and does.
Around 7:15, I saw a nice buck working toward my location and instantly knew it was a great 8 point. I had guessed he was about 140″ or so. Right behind him I saw the big 12-point I had been watching all summer.
Both bucks came in on a string to 19 yards. But, the big mature buck was no dummy. He stayed right behind the 8-point the whole time, and I couldn’t get a shot at him.
Day two was much of the same. There was a lot of deer activity, but no shooters. Kyle, however, did fill his tag on that second day with a real nice 8-point that was on his hit list.
I hunted hard over the next week, and saw the big 8 on multiple occasions, but he never had the buck with him I was looking for. I even had him within 30 yards of me for 29 minutes one morning, but I still let him go.
Around 5:30 I had a small buck come in, and it brightened my outlook somewhat. That buck left and a doe and fawn came in. They stuck around for 20 or so minutes, but then wandered off into the thick brush.
At around 6:30 a small really good up and comer buck came in. I had seen this deer many times, and he was always with more deer and never alone, so I focused hard on the direction he had came from.
About 3 minutes later, I could see the big 8 coming, and this time he was out of velvet, and looked bigger than I had thought.
As he was walking up the hill, he kept looking over his shoulder to check something behind him. One of my deer hunting tips is, when a mature buck is watching behind him, it only tells me that something bigger may be lurking. Well in this case, there was.
Coming straight at me was the buck I was after. He came in just like I had planned, but I didn’t plan on the other two bucks being there with him. For nine minutes I had to watch him and the other bucks mill around and feed.
Finally, the big 8 swung around to the back side of the 12. I had been waiting on this, because I knew it would turn the 12 where I could get a shot off.
Even though John has experienced some incredible success in taking huge bucks, it’s the time with friends that has made it all the more special.
I immediately called my wife, and then Kyle, to tell them I had shot. Kyle and another good friend, Nick McWhorter, had begged me all summer to film my hunts, and I had blown them off until about 2 weeks before season. They got me set up, and ready to film for this season.
Well, knowing the deer had my arrow, I chose to not even attempt to look for anything until I got to see my footage to confirm my shot placement. I met Kyle at my truck, and we reviewed everything together.
In our opinion, that shot had been perfect. By this time, my wife and son had shown up, and were excited to start tracking.
We headed back to my stand and began to look, but there was nothing to find. No blood, no arrow, no nothing. I knew which way he had ran, so we started in that general direction first. Travis, another buddy had came to help track and to get him out of the woods. Travis saw my Nockturnal lighted nock glowing bright, so we headed straight for it.
Big Kentucky Buck Down
There he laid; the buck I had studied all summer in hopes for one chance. I got it, and the shot was perfect. I ran my arrow and broadhead from in front of his back left hip, all the way up to his front right shoulder, just like I had intended.
Just like that, it was all over. He ended up being a mainframe 10, with two abnormals on his left side. He scored 155 inches. I was tickled to death.
Bonus: Another Huge Buck Story (The Coat Hanger Buck)
Garret Schmidt will forever remember the day he harvested the “Coat Hanger” Buck!
This was one N1 Moment™ that 30-year old Garrett Schmidt could hang his hat on… literally.
Opening day of archery season in Kansas
It was a 10-hour drive from League City, Texas, to the Southeast Kansas property he and some friends had recently gotten permission to hunt. But this was opening day of archery deer season in Kansas. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 100 hours.
“I knew it was going to be hot and possibly rain. But, I get so jacked up for the start of a new season that I didn’t care,” he said.
“I had only 45 minutes to make this happen. With the wind in my face I made a 100-yard belly crawl through the beans. I ended up within shooting distance of this non-typical buck,” he said. “I stood up fast out of the beans, drew my bow back, found the sweet spot, and let the Rage broadhead do the rest.”
The “coat hanger buck” was down. And, while Garret didn’t have his friends with him on this trip to help share in the excitement, the part they played wasn’t overlooked.
“When it was all said and done I wasn’t able to take fancy pictures or share this moment with a buddy. But, none of this would have been possible without the help of my good friends putting in the time and work over the year to get everything ready for this amazing opportunity.”
This velvet trophy buck may have never been harvested had Khavon not made the walk all the way back to his truck to get his forgotten quiver!
Friday afternoon, September 30, 2016, I arrived to my lease in Natchez, Mississippi. I unloaded the truck and ranger and headed to the woods to check my two cameras to decide where I was going to hunt that weekend.
As I was scrolling through 800 pictures of does and bucks, my buddy told me to stop and back up. I scrolled back and there was a giant 8-point buck in full velvet.
This was the first time I had seen a picture of him. I kept scrolling and the past few evenings he had been coming out right before dark. I immediately got nervous, since I’ve never had an opportunity to hunt a deer like him before.
So, I decided to not hunt there in the morning and to save the spot for an evening hunt on opening day.
The evening hunt on opening day approached and I began to get anxious, wondering how the hunt would go. It was very warm, so I grabbed my bow and took my time walking to my stand, because I didn’t want to sweat.
I arrived at my stand at 3:55 pm and climbed up. As I got my bow in my stand, I realized something looked funny. I forgot my quiver back at the ranger!
Trying not to get too upset, but still frustrated, I climbed back down and started walking back to the ranger. I decided to take my shirt off so I wouldn’t sweat on it, since it’s a good 10-12 minute walk up and down the hills.
Eventually, I made it to the ranger, got my quiver, and made my way back to the stand. I climbed in, nocked an arrow, turned the Thermacell on, put my shirt back on, and painted my face. By then, it was about 4:25 pm.
So, what’s the big deal with deer hunting and all this “upwind” and “downwind” talk?
Every year hunters make mistakes by not paying attention to wind direction. You can have all the deer in the world on your property. You can have all the “best” and most expensive hunting gear.
But, if you don’t pay attention to wind direction, you will be severely limiting your chances of harvesting a whitetail.
So, let’s learn how to hunt the wind, so that you can give yourself the best chance for hunting success while in the field.
Wind direction doesn’t really matter when hunting whitetail deer… does it?
You’ve probably heard stories of the hunter who rolls out of bed, goes through the local breakfast joint drive-through and gets a greasy sausage biscuit and drives to the hunting land.
Then, gets out of the truck, rides his/her 4-wheeler straight to the bottom of the tree they plan to hunt, ascend, light up a cigarette and shoot the biggest buck of their life.
When it comes to harvesting mature whitetails, you had better be on your A-game when it comes to scent control and wind direction.
Then, when the subject of scent control and wind direction in deer hunting comes up, they point to the wall hanger in the den and say something like, “pffffft, I never pay attention to the wind and you can see I’m doing just fine.”
Sure these stories are out there, but don’t be fooled. A mature whitetail didn’t become mature by “throwing caution to the wind.” A whitetail’s nose is its best defense and you are one of the most offensive smells around.
So, if you hope to have sustained success in the deer woods, you need to be serious about scent control. For bowhunters, who typically need to get a close shot to get the kill, it’s even more critical.
So, if you’re still reading, you must want to learn about how to hunt the wind in a way that keeps your scent away from a buck’s nose.
When it comes to wind direction, the key is to stay “downwind” of the deer you are hunting. But, what does “downwind” and “upwind” really mean?
How to “hunt the wind”
Being “downwind” of a deer means that if you were looking straight at the deer you hope to shoot, the wind would be blowing in your face. Thus, the wind would be blowing your scent away from the deer.
Conversely, if you were “upwind” of the deer, the wind would carry your scent “downwind” toward the deer (not what you want).
So, you want the deer to be upwind of you, and you want to be downwind of them. Got it?
Let’s take a look at the diagram below, which might help clear things up.
It’s not just about being in the stand
So, let’s say you are in the stand (or from the ground) and you’re overlooking a field where you know the deer feed. You are downwind of where you think the deer will eventually be. You are golden, right?
Well, maybe not.
You’re scent doesn’t just matter when you are in the deer stand. It matters well before you even sat down!
Entry and exit routes when hunting
One thing deer hunters often ignore is how their entry and exit to and from their deer stand impacts the deer they are hunting.
So, the hunt actually begins before you take one step toward your hunting location.
When you are making your way to your deer stand, the wind is carrying your scent just as it does from the stand.
So, unless you want your hunt to end before it even gets started, you need to be sure that you have thought through the wind direction as it pertains to how you are going to get to your stand.
If you are going to use the wind to your advantage, your hunt begins long before you actually sit down in your stand.
This means you need to know where the deer typically are during the time you plan to enter. Are they bedding? Are they feeding? Where are these locations in regard to your entry route?
And it’s the same for your exit route. If your scent gets blown toward the deer when you leave your stand, you have just educated those deer to your location.
So, if you are trying to avoid danger, are you going to continue to go back to where the danger is every day? Well, neither would a deer. They are trying to stay alive and that means avoiding the danger, which in this case, is YOU!
So, be sure you are paying attention to wind direction as it pertains to your entry and exit routes.
Let’s be clear, you can never truly “fool a deer’s nose.”
But, there are some things you can do to make it harder for them to bust you.
You can never totally fool a buck’s nose, but you should do everything you can to make things more difficult for him to bust you. (photo by Jeff Coldwell)
Kill that clothing scent
Take a whiff of your laundry detergent. Smells nice, doesn’t it?
Not to a deer.
What might smell great to you could make a deer want to leave the county. So, what can you do about that?
It’s a good idea to wash your clothes in a scent-free detergent. Baking soda is also a good scent “eliminator.” There are lots of these types of scent-killing hunting detergents on the market, so you’ll have no trouble finding them at you local sporting goods store.
Well, of course you want to have hunting clothing that will keep you warm in cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear all of it while you are walking to and from your stand or hunting location.
Plus, if you sweat on your way to the stand in an attempt to stay warm, you are going to end up being cold anyway when the sweat cools your body down. Nothing like being we in cold weather, right?
Many hunters are hunting on public land, which can mean a long trek to the final hunting destination. So, if you have a long walk to where you are headed and know you are going to work up a sweat, consider starting out by removing a layer or two. You might be a little bit cold when you start walking, but your body will warm up as you get moving.
Then, once you arrive at your stand or hunting location, you can put the layers back on, so that you will stay warm during the hunt. By doing this, you not only will be warmer, but you’ll avoid much of the odor that sweating causes.
Well, remember, wind direction is the most important scent control tactic you need to pay attention to, but if you can gain any kind of advantage in harvesting a whitetail (especially a mature buck), should you do it?
Use cover scents
The use of covers scents can be helpful in shielding a deer from your scent. There are a variety of cover scents available, such as racoon or fox urine, acorn scent, pine, etc.
Just be sure to native to your area. So, if there are no oak trees in your area and you use an acorn cover scent, this could have the opposite effect you are intending.
A deer may be on high alert when smelling this, since it is not a smell they are used to in that particular area. So, take care in choosing the “right” cover scent.
Find out what deer hunting and playing the lottery have in common. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.
Suppose I knew the five winging numbers to the lottery and all you had to do was guess the order they go into to win. How many of you would refuse that information and instead, decide to guess the numbers yourself and the order they go in?
Hopefully none of you, but that’s exactly what many deer hunters do every season by not paying attention to the wind.
Wind direction is critical in deer hunting
All the scouting and trail can picture is in the world won’t make up for poor planning when it comes to wind direction. For you bow hunters out there, it’s even more critical. Always be aware of which way the wind is blowing, not only in regards to stand location, but also in relation to the entry and exit routes to and from your stand or hunting location. The last thing you want is for your hunt to end with deer blowing before it even gets started.
Stay downwind of the deer in all situations. For those of you not familiar with the terms “upwind” and “downwind,” an easy way to remember, is to be sure the wind is in your face when approaching and hunting your favorite trail or location.
Paying careful attention to wind direction certainly won’t help you win the lottery, but when combined with effective scouting, planning and accuracy, it will increase your chances of seeing and taking more deer.
We hope you have a great week and remember… “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.