Spotting The Elusive Wolf

Our guide to spotting wolves on Michigan's Isle Royale.

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With just 19 wolves on 45-mile-long Isle Royale, you’ll need some help spotting one. Here’s how to improve your odds:

  • Bring binoculars or a spotting scope to use in elevated locales that offer wide views. Feldtmann and Minong Ridges (see “The World At Your Feet,” June 2001) on the island’s western side are good spots.
  • Glass open marshes where moose feed and watch natural travel routes such as creek bottoms, ridgelines, and lakeshores. Although wolves tend to avoid areas used by humans, they will take advantage of hiking trails.
  • Drift in your canoe on one of the inland lakes. Wolves are sometimes spotted along the shorelines hunting for beavers.
  • Search upwind to avoid being sniffed out by wolves.
  • Look for wolf sign: tracks, scat (doglike, but often containing hair), and the remains of moose.
  • Use your ears as well as your eyes, especially on still nights when wolf howls can travel great distances.

Even if you don’t see a wolf on the Michigan island, take solace in the knowledge that the wolves have probably seen you.