Live Hunt Alaska: A Wolverine on the Trap Line

Outside of Alaska, there are few places where you can impress women by telling them a story about trapping a wolverine in a wolf piss set. Don’t believe me? Well, here’s at least how you get the story…

A pack of wolves prowled through our lynx trapping area earlier this season, but we hadn’t been able to pattern them, so we focused our effort on the cats.

But then, on a late February solo trip, I saw that a pack of 3 or 4 wolves had run down our trail for about two miles. I found several spots where they had peed along the trail to mark their territory. These spots would be surefire places to catch a wolf if the pack came back through. I didn’t have any wolf traps left in my box, so I decided to backtrack and pull an Alaskan No. 9, resetting it where the wolves had passed.

The Alaskan No. 9 is probably the baddest wolf trap there is. Made here in Fairbanks, they have a jaw spread of 9 inches, and were developed specifically to catch and hold wolves in Alaska’s tough conditions. After I got the trap set, I decided to try something creative. I’ve heard stories about guys who have caught wolves using their own urine to mark the scent post.

This goes against just about every rule I know for keeping human scent off of wolf sets, but then again…can they really tell it’s human? Years ago, my uncle had wolves completely destroy the area around where his partner left a number two (and I don’t mean that as a trap size), so I decided to take a chance–and I peed on top of where the wolves had. The next week I had the shock of the year. As my uncle and I rode down the trail, set after set was empty, but when we got close to the set I had made the week before, I could see that the area was really torn up. I knew we had something.

But instead of a wolf, it was a wolverine! Following his tracks back down the trail, I saw that he had been running along stealing lynx bait, as they are so famous for doing. Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family (between 15 and 35 pounds), which includes marten, mink, ermine, and skunks. These guys are built like tanks. They’re basically just muscle, tendon, claws, and teeth, combined with the attitude of a grizzly bear. More than anything, wolverines are known for being wily and hard to catch.

However, they aren’t so much hard to catch, as they are hard to hold. They just never quit. I caught one in a marten trap last year and he chewed through the 5-inch spruce that the trap was chained to and got away! The best sets for them use a 330 conibear body grip trap, but the old Alaskan No. 9 worked anyway! I still couldn’t believe that I had actually snagged him in a urine post set, with my own pee. It was one of the coolest catches I had this year, and the first wolverine I’ve caught and been able to hold in a trap.