Wolves sleeping watermark

Fast forward to last week for this image (please click on the photo for the larger version).

For anyone that has had the privilege of seeing wild wolves in their natural environment, you can appreciate how fleeting the glimpses usually are. Often times they are visible for only a few seconds, usually in poor light with something obstructing the view. In these situations I often won’t even bother trying to take pictures. I will just watch them from a distance and enjoy the moment before they vanish into the forest.

Last week I was having a very unproductive morning with no good wildlife sightings to speak of so I decided to start heading back to town.  I rounded a corner and my luck drastically changed. There, basking in the mid-day sun were three wolves! It is very rare to see them during the day and for them to be lying out in the open is exceptionally rare!  I quickly pulled my car over to the side of the road, rolled down the window and turned the engine off in the hopes that I wouldn’t disturb them. Thankfully, within seconds they relaxed and went back to lounging in the sun!

To me nothing is more rewarding when watching wildlife then to have them be seemingly unaffected by my presence. I think this should be the gold standard for anyone that wants to watch or photograph wildlife.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but if an effort is made to make this the first priority then it will occur a lot more often than not. In this case by keeping my distance, staying in the car and making as little movement or noise as possible I was able to watch them undisturbed for several minutes. One walked down the hill right in front of me while these two stayed on the ridge above. The two on the hill would periodically lift their heads to check on the other wolf below. The most amazing moment that illustrated that they weren’t concerned with me in the least was when they laid their heads down and closed their eyes for a few moments.  To me this was the ultimate compliment.

You might be wondering how it all ended? I wish I could tell you that I left the wolves were I found them but unfortunately as is all too common these days a vehicle came around the corner, stopped behind me and the person got out of their car. In a split second the wolves on the hill leaped up, swirled around and vanished into the trees while the one of the road bolted up the hill and out of sight.  Frustrating to say the least but hopefully the wolves were able to find a more secluded sunny spot to rest in for the remainder of the afternoon.