HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 2, No. 1, Winter 1983

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 2 No. 1, Winter 1983

The Wolf Cub
Rick Shrack

A dusty orange glow sifted into the cabin and danced upon the tall man's eyelids as he slept. The morning was coming on and the prone man would soon stir. The sun's rays created a warm feeling that grew in intensity upon his face. Movement was finally evident and the bearded figure awoke slowly, first stretching his limbs, yawning, and then rising.

The small rustic cabin smelled strongly of hides and fresh game meat. The dweller of the cabin traipsed about in his union suit preparing the breakfast fire which would also take the mountain chill off his bones. A hindquarter of venison hung from the rafter, and the man sliced a hunk from it to roast over the fire and fill his insides with the nutrition it demanded. Nice thing, he thought, about fresh meat, is that it contains all the vitamins and other necessities for the old bones. Some cook old frozen meat until the best nutrition is cooked out of it. It was a shame that he could not eat as the mountain men and Indians had - dipping fresh, raw liver into the gall.

The meal satisfied him and he donned his buckskin clothing. A large Bowie was then strapped to his waist and a possibles bag was slung over his shoulder. He kept a little jerky in the bag for emergencies. The canteen would be left behind. This would be a leisurely walk through the mountains' forestland, and springs were everywhere.

The wildlife varied greatly here, but the tall man was intent upon approaching what he considered to be the only den of wolves left in the range. A good half-day's journey loomed before him, and he was certain that he would see some sign of life if he could only be patient enough. The small cave's mouth had betrayed some activity on the return from his last hunt. If he hadn't scrutinized the tracks, he would have immediately sloughed them off as coyote. What he didn't need was another grizzly encounter, for who would be so lucky the second time?

The sun rose sharply in the sky as he walked along the invisible trail in his mind. It warmed the environment and made another mountain day as perfect as countless ones before it. The fresh pine scented air never ceased to revitalize the well-muscled, lanky man, and today the air carried to his nostrils the fragrance that only a storm could bring. He discounted it for the wind was changing at that very moment. and he could rest easier and enjoy his day that he had planned.

Topping a small rise, the man proceeded to get down on his belly to stalk the entrance of the den. Ever so slowly, his head came from behind a protective rock. A wolf was lying at the entrance with its face away from him. After considerable time, the den displayed no signs of life. It was surely strange that the wolf did not move even in rest. The man made the decision to walk closer to the den, and his nose flared at the odor of death. The wolf at the mouth of the cave would provide no threat this day. Upon closer examination, he found no wounds on the wolf’s body, so he deduced that poisoning had taken place to deprive the wolf of life. Looking around, the man spied a furry form of a cub also dead. The local ranchers had apparently set out coyote bait again to rid themselves of what they considered to be a nuisance. The far-reaching effects of their ignorance maddened the man until his ears picked up the muted cries from the bowels of the den. A half-starved cub was crying in hopes that its mother would rescue it, but found that it had no strength to resist the strange creature which now pulled it from its lair. Pulling some jerked meat from his bag, the man chewed it till it became softened for the young teeth of the cub.

As he ambled toward home, tears fell for the senseless murder that had taken place. And as the tears fell more profusely, the savior of the cub gained an anger that grew intense as though fire consumed a dry forest. He would find the source of the poison and exact a sort of retribution that would be appropriate. Soon, he noticed the results of the food given to the cub. The young wolf was certainly lucky not to have received any of the poisonous meat. Right now he fell asleep, apparently deciding that that which fed him wouldn't harm him. The man decided to raise the cub as his own, but felt that if he ever wanted his freedom, he would be allowed to have it. Company would be welcomed at the cabin, as his only visitors were Mahqui Witco, or Bill, and his lifelong friend from the flatlands.

Why can't ranchers and predators live together? The big man felt that wisdom never reigned too high in those that did not live close to the Earth Mother. He decided that he would let the area know he intended to fight for co-existence, or no existence at all.

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