One of the best locations for bears, lynxes and wolves, who have come to our Beskydy mountains, is a big massif of the mountain Smrk. Near the top of Smrk peak a big male of brown bear has found his permanent territory.
Area of the mountain Smrk is my monitoring location. Besides tracks of lynxes and brown bear I often find footprints of wolves. It is an amazing fact for me. Wolves have come back to our mountains, to my Smrk. I remember, last winter I followed track of three wolves. It was a small pack. I walked through deep snow and suddenly saw a track. There was a deep groove in the three feet thick snow layer. I started to follow this track. It led me through the primeval forest to the ridge. Near some trees one trail split to two or even three tracks and I realized that I watched track of three wolves. I followed a trail of a small wolf pack. On the ridge wolf trail again divided to three tracks. Wolves went to the top and observed a valley below them. They surely looked for some pray. But they didn´t find any wild boar, red or roe deer - their favorite prey and they returned back exactly in their tracks. Three tracks joined together to the single one. Wolves came back through the forest. I followed their track for half of mile. Then track disappeared in snow drifts.
A forester confirmed a presence of three wolves in our area. It means that three wolves range along the mountain Smrk. I again visited my locations from 14 till 18 November 2008. Some evenings I tried to howl. Waiting for response. But nothing broke the silence.
During Monday November 17th weather was very bad. It was overcast, foggy in higher altitude. Some snow showers occurred from time to time. I was alone, totally alone. My friend left me in the morning. Through the day I slowly monitored terrain. I moved through wild forests, deep valleys, traversing steep side slopes. Evening´s slowly approaching. It came dusk to Smrk. That evening I didn´t howl. I enjoyed the silence of the wild forests. When I came to our cottage, I prepared my dinner. Outside of chalet was darkness, no star shone on the sky. It was still overcast. I went to bed. During a night heavy clouds melted away and moon started to shine. Temperature dropped deep below zero. It came frosty weather. First moon rays got through a window to my room. They goosed my eyelids and I woke up. In the same moment two wolves followed my footprints on the path half mile from the cottage.
In the morning after my breakfast I set out on my monitoring. Moon was still on the blue sky, but sun rays warmed my numb body. Just half of mile from my hut I saw foot-marks printed in a fresh thin layer of snow. My heart started beating faster. Two wolves visited my area during last night. Wolves followed my tracks. They walked on a forest road just couple of hours after me. Their paw-prints covered footprints of my shoes. Such amazing!
I continued to discover wolves tracks terrain. There was also a lynx jumping in the forest near the wolf trail in the night. Maybe the lynx and wolves met each other under the moonlight. I followed wolf trail for a mile. I could read wolf activity from their tracks. I saw, that wolves had stopped on the edge of the forest road and observed a landscape below them. I grabbled through a forest windbreaks to catch the wolf track. After a mile the wolf trail vanished in huckleberries.
I am very pleased. Wolves live in my mountain, a mountain called Smrk. I will do my best to protect their lives.
Pavel Reich a Lone Wolf
Member of Wolf Haven International
a voluntary ranger in the Beskydy mountains in the Czech Republic in Europe
Note: "Smrk" means spruce in Czech language.