The Wolves of Winter
by Cindy Baldwin, Denny O'Brien, April Wade, Kate M, Traian Ciobanu, Joanna, Brant Bell, Jane, Debby Neville, Abba Flaminio
(Bexley, Burlington, Stratford, Ancaster, Pickering, Milton, Toronto, Guelph, Ancaster)
During the past few weeks we have received a dozen sightings of Wolves or Coywolves from around Southern Ontario. Here they are - they make interesting reading!
Cindy Baldwin from Bexley, Ontario, wrote to say ..... On December 7th 2014 we had been working in our garage on Christ Church Coboconk's float for the Christmas parade late into the evening. Our rottie/scotch collie had gone inside with my partner only moments earlier. It was dark but the light from the garage lit the area several feet in front of the double doors which were wide open. Dense forest surrounds our house. Suddenly, into the light came a large animal, only a few feet from the end of the small trailer I was working on. I thought it was a dog at first but realized it wasn't one I had ever seen in the area. We are a rural farm area with lots of bush surrounding the properties. I lowered my voice and roared "Git". It lowered it's head, looked at me, turned and slowly loped away. I was frozen for a moment. My partner is a hunter and felt I had seen a Timber Wolf. He saw him later crossing between us and our neighbour Lynn's home. She has three dogs, one a Saint Bernard female who had been in heat. She saw this animal on her deck late at night and was sure it wasn't a dog. If it is a Grey Wolf, it is far too close for comfort. Beautiful as it was, I do not want it in contact with our neighbourhood pets or children.
Denny O'Brien from Burlington, Ontario, reports ..... I was walking my German Shepherd dog in fields west of the Petro Canada plant, off Superior Court when I noticed a large "dog" standing still, watching us from about 50 yards away. We were upwind so my dog didn't pick up his scent (I later saw it cock it's leg). I called my dog to me, grabbed him by the collar and started back towards my truck, along the fence-line close to the road. I turned and looked over my shoulder to see it walking towards us. I started yelling at it in hopes the human voice would scare him off (feared I'd have to witness the two fighting) but it kept approaching, closing ground, eventually to within about 15 yards at which point I threw a rock in it's direction and saw it stop and look hesitant. My dog never did turn to see it as he thought I was mad at him as I yelled at the wolf to "Go!". I know enough about animals to recognize this was a Wolf and not a Coyote. It easily had 20-30 pounds on my 85 lb GSD and the head was definitely that of a Wolf (I studied them a lot as a teen). Once my dog was back in the truck I drove back to where I'd first seen him and watched him for a few minutes as he watched me, uncomfortable with the running motor of my truck, he ran off a bit, back a bit. I know wolves are leery of humans so expect it had more to do with my dog than me - a truly beautiful animal.
April Wade from Stratford, Ontario, wrote to tell us ..... In the winter of 2013 we spotted three coy-wolves feasting on a deer carcass by a treeline off of a farmers field. We had thought this to be rare to see at the time. However, so far this winter when parked on one of the back road bridges at night, you can almost certainly hear them barking and communicating. They are much higher pitched than dogs and have a distinctive sound. (Heard this many times now.) Today while parked at the bridge I was lucky enough to photograph one crossing the ice. When I later enlarged the photo at home there were many tracks in the snow that had fallen on the ice the last few days. If these were Deer tracks you would see one single line of tracks. Coywolves will have two lines of tracks together. Deer are plentiful in this area, and I am assuming the same for the Coywolves as well.
Kate M from Ancaster, Ontario, wrote to tell us ..... Hamilton. January 8, 2015, I was walking our dog around 8:10 am just on a trail in a new subdivision in Ancaster (Raymond Road and Garner Road) which encroaches right in a heavily forested area. There have been many Coyote sighting in our area. I have heard them a night several times, and I have spotted deer a couple of times as well. However on this morning as I walked my lab, my eyes just suddenly spotted a grey animal slowing running/trotting through the forest. It made me freeze and the first thing I did was grab my dog and get him on his leash. What I saw looked like a large dog, almost German Shepherd-like. It was grey, and darker fur in other areas. It had a larger head and a large tail, lean body. I thought right away, it must be a Coyote because there are often Coyote sightings in our area (my husband included) and just wanted to get out of there. I took off with a light jog, and when I looked back, I couldn't see it anymore. It hadn't seemed to be interested in me. As the days have passed, I have thought more about it and just thought it seemed too large to be a Coyote.
On January 14, 2015 Traian Ciobanu from Pickering saw a grey wolf in the city, he said ..... I am resident in Penny Lane, Pickering and today in the morning I was walking in our neighborhood (actually after I passed the intersection of Brock Road with Dersan Street) close to the forest, I saw a grey Wolf. I was scared and I came back home fast.
Joanna from Milton reported ..... On February 2nd 2015 I spotted two very large Wolf-looking animals on the train tracks near Martin Street and Steels Road. Another passenger and I both saw the huge canines at dusk, but we could clearly see that they were a darker grey colour and looked to be Wolves as they had very different husky-like faces, nothing like Coyotes. They appeared to be scouting the field below and hunting.
Brant Bell of Toronto said ..... While leaving Yorkdale Mall driving up the on ramp east bound 401, I spotted a Wolf just standing off to the right of the highway in the snow. Traffic was moving so there was not time to snap a picture. I was quite surprised to see one right in the city. This was February 11 2015 3:35 pm.
Jane from Guelph wrote to say ..... This morning at 6:30 I was driving down Victoria Road south of Guelph. I saw what initially assumed was a deer run across the road. I slowed down in case there were more deer. The animal stopped once it crossed the road, and turned back to look. It had a long 2-3 ft tail with a diameter of about 4-6 inches. It was obviously tall as I mistook it for a doe. I would say counter height at the withers. It had a round square head with short far apart ears, and a long snout. My thoughts included a cougar or a coyote/wolf hybrid, due to the large size. But I assumed more likely wolf especially with almost mistaking it for a deer.
Debby Neville from Guelph said ..... At minus 30 degrees on February 16, 2015 at 4:45 am, I saw a beautiful healthy looking Grey Wolf trying to cross Highway 6 halfway from Guelph to the 401. I have often seen them in British Columbia, but this is my first Ontario sighting.
Abba Flaminio from Scenic Woods, Ancaster, wrote to say ..... We live near the Bruce Trail on the mountain and we've seen Wolves in our backyard! It backs off onto the trail.
Thank you all for sending us your reports - I know our readers will enjoy them as much as I did!