Lions, Wolves, and Bears

Show Notes

On this episode of The Western Rookie Podcast, Brian talks with guest Kate Small about hunting some of North America’s Apex Predators.

Kate is a backcountry hunter and outdoorswoman from Idaho who loves chasing predators each year. Kate has developed a passion for wolf hunting and the challenges it brings to finding and harvesting one of North America’s most elusive animals. Brian and Kate discuss strategies and tactics for finding wolves, considerations for consuming predators, and non-resident predator hunting options. Check out the links below to learn more from Kate or ask about her Wolf Hunting & Trapping camps!


Kate’s Instagram

Western Wolf Academy

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Show Transcript

Brian Krebs: [00:00:00] Whether you're hunting the back 40 or chasing game deep in the back country, the all new razor guide pack from Outdoor Edge has it all coming in at only 12 ounces. And in a premium wax canvas roll pack for compact storage and travel. The razor guide pack is seven blades in total, including a five inch replaceable blade folding knife, a three inch replaceable blade caping knife, and the flip and zip saw for wood or bone for more information.

Visit outdoor You're listening to the Western Rookie, a hunting podcast full of tips, tricks, and strategies from seasoned western hunters. There are plenty of opportunities out there. We just need to learn how to take on the challenges.

Kate Small: Hunting is completely different up there. That part said 26

Brian Krebs: big game animals.

You can fool their eyes, but you can fool their nose. 300 yards, specked the road, turned into three miles back the other way. It's always cool seeing [00:01:00] new hunters go and harvest an animal. I don't know what to expect. If there's anybody I want in the woods with me, it'll

Kate Small: be you.

Brian Krebs: Welcome back to another episode of the Western Rookie Podcast. This is your host, Brian Krebs, and today I have Kate Small, who from the looks of it, has done quite a bit more predator hunting than I am, so I'm excited to talk to her today about that. How are you doing today, Kate? I'm doing

Kate Small: well,

Brian Krebs: thank you.

How are you doing? Good. Fighting it battles as always. Aside from the trouble from you and us trying to get connected without an echo. I'm also trying to set up my home office again today 'cause we just moved into this new farm and I've been doing it issues all day long. Yeah. Nightmare.

Yeah, I work from home full time, so I have to get it working too, which is the bummer. I can't just say, oh, I'll do it next week.

But yeah, on the predator side of things, I was looking at your [00:02:00] Instagram. I was getting a little bit jealous of all the cool hunts. Looks like you have done quite a bit of, like wolf hunting. Bear hunting. I've seen some coyotes on your feed. I saw cat. What's your favorite thing to hunt?

Is it like predators and wolves and cats and bears, or is it still elk and deer?

Kate Small: Wolves have taken over my life. So that's where my passion lies currently.

Brian Krebs: That's, that's not a bad passion to have. I think a lot of people view the wolf as like the one of the ultimate North America predators.

And at least in Minnesota, we can't even hunt them anymore, which is a real bummer. Yeah. But even when we had seasons, there was like 4,000 or thousands and thousands of people would get a tag, and our quota was 400. And so like the success rates were like 1%.

Kate Small: Tough. They're really difficult. And I would say if they open your season back up again, go after them. [00:03:00] Because the earlier on, the less educated. They're, because they're so intelligent, they learn really quickly once they're hunted, not to make those mistakes again.

Brian Krebs: That makes a lot of sense. 'cause they, I don't know if they're, because they're in packs that they learn faster than other animals, but Like deer don't really learn, like they don't learn that this food plot isn't the safest place to be in October.

But I have heard that wolves like you cannot make any mistakes, especially when people were trapping them like you can't have any scent. You have to make sure everything about your set is absolutely perfect and then you have to still get lucky that they work it, that they come in, that they actually hit the trap and it's it's a huge process.


Kate Small: It's wild. I started trapping, I guess two years ago now, and in Idaho at least I dunno about Minnesota, but Idaho Wolfs have a square mile territory. So if you think about trying to get a wolf to step on a pan that's that big in 50 square miles, it's, [00:04:00] you have to be almost perfect in your

Brian Krebs: Yeah, I would.

I would almost wager that in Minnesota they could even have a larger range. 'cause like we don't have mountains, so there's real, no geography, geographical borders, keeping them in like a, like I could see a wolf's yeah, I could run over that mountain, but do I want to, or should I just stay in this valley?

Kate Small: Exactly, and I dunno your population there either. So if you have a lower population, then they're gonna spread out more and pick up more of that area.

Brian Krebs: All I can really do is recite what they tell us, right? Because who who really knows how many wolves are out there? Especially like, Where we are, that we don't have a lot of open valleys where you can see a pack like feeding or like in Yellowstone, you can see the whole pack sometimes, like here, you'd have to get pretty lucky and see it in a field.

And in the wolf habitat range, there's not a lot of fields like open fields. They tell us that. I think our greater lakes, which is like northern Wisconsin, Northern Michigan, Minnesota, has 4,000 wolves.[00:05:00]

Kate Small: So you probably have twice that, and that's a lot

Brian Krebs: of wool. Is that a lot? What is, what does your area have, like the Idaho, is it the greater Yellowstone ecosystem or are you in more of the greater, like the glacier ecosystem? So we're

Kate Small: so Idaho we're part of Yellowstone. But I'll just, I'll give you some quick details on wolves here.

1995, they were introduced by US Fish and Wildlife, the goal for the Northern Rocky Mountain population segment, which is Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the eastern third of Oregon. And,

Yeah. And so that's for all that whole region. And when they were delisted in the maximum capacity was being be in that entire area, and currently our latest [00:06:00] count was in alone. And that's estimated.

They're doing that fully based on callers and a game camera grid system. And so I'm thinking we have a lot more than that,

Brian Krebs: right? Probably not. I get like they have limited funding and there's only so much we can do. Like how would we

Kate Small: ever do they have limited funding? I think they have funding.


Brian Krebs: have a lot. They probably have a lot. They would probably tell us they have limited funding. Yeah. But I get like, how are you, if you even put me in charge of counting all the wolves in the Northern Rockies, I'd be like, I don't know if I want that job. I don't know how I would go about it.

Kate Small: Yeah, and what they don't count. They don't count.

[00:07:00] These huge populations of molds. Yeah. And so that's

Brian Krebs: interesting. So there's a good chance that you guys are already well over your maximum carrying capacity for the Northern Rockies. Yes. Yeah. Good thing there's people out there like you that are, that have apparently figured it out or at least learned a couple things on how to track these suckers down in the fall.

So you said you started trapping a couple years ago. Is trapping like the main way you go after wolves and target wolves, or are you still doing more of a spot in stock with a rifle?

Kate Small: I do both. So trapping takes a lot of time and money to do in Idaho, you have to check your traps every 72 hours.

And where I.

Driving, driving every three days. That's like a fulltime job of Yeah. Getting their gas, money, chicken, all that. So I do both. I wolf [00:08:00] hunting here is year round because the population, so control. Okay. So my favorite time to hunt them is in februarym.

But I also like traffic during the winter too, because I'm not hunting elk and deer. I just will observe like my filler when I don't have other seasons going on. But

Brian Krebs: yeah, that's, it's good to have those. Lately I've been not lately, for the last five, six years, I've been filling my springs with shed hunting.

And that has become my addiction for February and March. And so I'll start like way up in North Dakota when it's like early, like snowshoes and finding them like in the snow. And then I ended this year we went on a trip to New Mexico in late April to find elk and meal deer sheds with a good buddy.

So that's

Kate Small: awesome. Yeah, you gotta fill your time with something.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Yeah. Because [00:09:00] otherwise, man, it's a long stretch between January and September. Yeah, absolutely. So how many years did it take? To figure it out. Not, obviously you've probably been hunting a long time, so you get the basics of be quiet, move, stealthy, glass spot in stock.

But wolves are different, right? They're just diff, they're harder to find. And so how long did it take you, when you started saying I'm gonna try this to like, being successful? Did it take a long time?

Kate Small: Oh,

We're out. There's no book on wolves like there are for elk and deer. Wolves are just not a lot the people have gotten. That education on them to put it out there for you to, how do I do? And so between us and all of our failed

[00:10:00] communicate.


Brian Krebs: yeah, that would definitely help shorten the learning curve because, We've been doing the elk hunting thing. My brother and my dad started a long time ago, like rifle guided hunts, had mixed results. Now we've been doing like do it yourself archery every year for the last better part of a decade.

And there's like you said, there's so many things you can learn online. Like you can learn elk ecology, you can learn like how to look at what they need to eat and sleep in bed and. Where water and food is and rutting behavior. You can Google all the calls in the world. There's like the whole section of a outdoor store is dedicated to elk hunting, right?

And then you go to something like wolf hunting. I wouldn't even know where to start. My brother went to the Idaho once and he, I think you guys have some sort of a combination license where it was. For him at least he had the option to shoot a wolf with his elk tag if he wanted to. Yeah, you can absolutely do that.

Would've [00:11:00] And he would've, he a hundred percent would've. They saw the, like back half of a wolf, like in a split second, and that was it. That's all the wolves they saw. And so obviously they weren't going after wolves, and it was in like October, not, February. But it's, yeah, it's not just so easy.

It's oh, I have a wolf tag. Like I should be able to fill that on my elk hunt.

Kate Small: No, and that's, that we're definitely overpopulated with wolves, but that doesn't mean you're seeing a wolf behind every tree.

Brian Krebs: You guys, yeah. 'cause like you said earlier, if you hunt 'em, they get smart and then they learn to not come out in the open in broad daylight or not stay away from roads and people's like hunting land and public land probably gets pressured so much anyway from all the other types of hunting that they probably don't even like public land that much.


Kate Small: and they're smart and they'll learn the e call and they know what to stay away from, unfortunately.

Brian Krebs: Yeah, that, that sounds rough. Do you have any like ranchers in your community that will call up, maybe not you specifically, but a [00:12:00] hunter and be like, Hey, I know you're a wolf hunter, and I have a wolf problem.

It's getting in, it's killing calves. Can you come take this, take care of this for me?

Kate Small: Yeah, so we live in a really small community and so we constantly get calls from ranchers or just people saying Hey, here's a beat on a patch. Like, why don't you guys try and go after? And there's a couple of pretty good wolf hunters in this town.

And so it's nice to talk to each.

Brian Krebs: Yeah, that would, I wish they did that for Giant Elk. Like a ranch is Hey, I have this 350 inch bull. Can you come and take care of this for me?

Kate Small: I think you're, you just want, you don't want them off landscape. That's never gonna happen. We're never gonna get rid of all wolves, and I don't, they're really impressive creatures. But they need to be managed. And you just get for anyone who can help you out with that.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Yeah. [00:13:00] It's sad that here in Minnesota we can't hunt wolves just because it's an opportunity.

And it's something for outdoors men to do. But we have a very struggling moose population here in Minnesota. Yeah. And they've said that up to 50% of moose calves every year, each year are killed by wolves. And they, but they don't count the wolves as a major cause of the moose decline. Because they say the wolves have been here forever.

And so that's not what's causing the moose to decline in the last 10 years. But it's it's still a significant, like they'd balance back a lot faster if they weren't getting just slaughtered by wolves.

Kate Small: And when wolves are less than managed, the population grows 40% annually, so they're gonna kill more and more moose calves

Brian Krebs: every year.

So we're trying to get the moose to come back, yet we're not really addressing the entire picture of the problem. They'll say that there's, and I say they'll say I don't believe it. I do believe it. There's a brain warming deer that deer can spread to moose. It doesn't kill [00:14:00] the deer for whatever reason, but it's 100% lethal for moose.

And so when we have these like abundantly warm winters with low snow, the deer population just pushes farther up north where the moose are and then they overlap. And so if we have two or three easy winters, we will then see the years following a moose decline because those deer pushed up and started spreading this brain worm to the moose.

So that's understood and we're trying to figure out how to manage that. Hunters wanna shoot deer so they want more deer. And then, so it's like a balancing act, but it's like we're completely forgetting half the equation with the wolves. Yeah,

Kate Small: absolutely. Because maybe you can't manage that brain worm, but you can manage the other portion that's taken out.

Brian Krebs: And which is hilarious because you said the goal of like maximum sustainability was 1500 for a region that was massive, like the size of Texas. Yeah. And we have not even close to that. And they're telling us we have 4,000, which is probably on [00:15:00] the low end. Yeah. So it seems.

Kate Small: Know about your wolf, but our wolf, each wolf will eat about 20 big game per year.

Oh boy. And that's what they're killing though. That's not, it's or that's what they're eating. Yeah. That doesn't include, they're chasing down elk. They're chasing down fear, causing spontaneous abortion, causing exhaustion. If a wolf is. Laying there laying just like your domestic dog. If a cat would run by your dog instinct is to get up and chase that cat.

Wolf is the same way. If a deer runs by instinct is to chase maim it and it realizes, Hey, I wasn't hungry, and it walks away. That doesn't count towards that 20 big game average.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. And they wolves and a lot of big predators that are 100% carnivore, like probably not so much bear because they're more omnivores.

Like wolves and cats isn't, don't they train their offspring to like hunt and like part of that is we're gonna go out [00:16:00] and see if we can kill a couple elk even though we're not gonna eat them. Yeah. I just need to train you how to hunt like that. Work as tech. Absolutely.

Kate Small: Yeah. They're very, if fishing killers, I mean you really, if you're wolf hunting or trapping, you really have to you really have to respect them because they're just amazing animals.

Brian Krebs: That's crazy. So one myth that I think a lot of people, especially in like around me in Minnesota, I've heard oh, I saw a huge wolf the other day had to have been at least 250 pounds. And I'm like, really? Seems like a lot of people like to overestimate the size of these predators that they're seeing.

What's been your experience with like actual wolf sizes? I shot a big wolf and this is what it weighed. I shot a small wolf and this is what it weighed.

Kate Small: Yeah. So any wolf over a hundred pounds is a big wolf. One 10. To me, that's a giant wolf. Okay. And I think I've had one guy that I know, and I think he's in [00:17:00] Canada and his biggest wolf was like, And so that's massive.

Yeah. So yeah, if somebody says, oh, I shot the two pound wolf, they're lying. Yeah. And it just, it doesn't happen. Granted, a wolf could just have had a great big meal and gained a few pounds off that. There's no two.

Their torsos are really small. It's the fur that makes them look big and they have long licks like deer. Yeah. But yeah, they're not the average wolf, I would say is about 75, 80

Brian Krebs: pounds. Which is smaller than my lab. My lab is like 90 and he's not fat. So he's just got, he's probably got more weight than a wolf 'cause he doesn't run around all day, but less fur.

Kate Small: Yeah. And those look bigger than dogs because they're tall animals. Yeah. But yeah, there's no, and it always [00:18:00] makes me laugh when I see that, but they, you'll see grown men and these wolfs look huge. Yeah. It looks like 200 pounds,

Brian Krebs: but they're not. Did you see the picture of Derrick Wolf?

The N F L player? Yes. With his mountain lion in Colorado. Yes. That one like really puts it in perspective. That was the probably the biggest cat I've ever seen a picture of. It was huge. Yeah. 'cause the dude was huge and he looks like the proportions were like the exact same as you with your cat.

Except he's six. Six.

Kate Small: Yeah.

Instagram and social media, you can never really tell how big anything is, right? Yeah. Depending on the angle of the picture and but one of my favorite things was I was able, I got a coyote and a wolf in the same day, so I was able to do a size comparison. Yeah. And so that's, it puts things more in perspective.

Brian Krebs: [00:19:00] Yeah. Because we'll, I'll hear the same thing. Every now and then with coyotes, or coyotes, we call 'em coyotes here. Or a lot of people call 'em brush wolves, like farmers. We'll say it's a brush wol. Really? Yeah. But they'll be like, yeah, I saw a hundred pound coyote. And I'm like, that doesn't sound right.

Yeah, it might've been as big as your a hundred pound dog, but that's because your dog's overweight and it doesn't have any fur. Like I think I, the biggest one I trust was like 40 pounds for a

Kate Small: coyote. Yeah. Yeah. And I, and that's a huge coyote, right? Yeah.

Brian Krebs: And so we have timber wolves in Minnesota.

I th you guys have a, is it called a gray wolf? Is that what the wolf is? It's called the,

Kate Small: people call them gray wolves, Canadian timber Wolves. I, but I think, I dunno if they're same, I need to do more research on that. I

Brian Krebs: could see them being different. If anything, I would assume, are they from Canada?

Yeah. They come down from Canada. They. Now they're just from Minnesota. 'cause they've been here forever. Yeah. But I think they do I think they [00:20:00] did come down from Canada once we stopped to them.

Kate Small: Planet from Canada as well.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. I mean if anything I would assume that the wolves that you guys have are bigger because they cover huge ranges.

They have bigger like prey, like our wolves have never seen an elk, so they would probably not know what to do. Like a moose calf is the size of a

Kate Small: deer. A food source because you have so many, so over time they're just gonna be smaller and smaller, whereas they adapt as a species. Yeah.

Brian Krebs: I think our wolves primarily eat white tilled deer, and we have plenty of white tilled deer, so I think they just get good at killing fawns, which is, probably not a challenge for a wolf.

That's That's something I've always wanted to do and I don't know how to go about it. Do you have a lot of non-resident wolf hunters? 'cause it seems like that's something where you just really gotta know the landscape and the terrain and where they are like living. [00:21:00]

Kate Small: So we get a ton of non-resident hunters.

And my plea to everybody is,

Screw up on a pack and then make it way harder for


Then that makes it way harder for me and the other wolf hunters to get it dead when we're actually trying to do it for purpose to save the

Brian Krebs: population. Okay. So it sounds like lots of non-resident hunters probably not very many successful non-resident hunters. 'cause it's,

Kate Small: yeah, I've, there are stories I've heard of like a guy saying Hey, I'm coming to Idaho and comes first.

But that doesn't happen all the time usually. So STAs on wolf hunting in Idaho less than 1% of [00:22:00] Idaho wolfs will ever shoot a wolf, and less than one of that 1% are doing so on purpose. So usually someone's out l he a wolf size, they it, that's 1%. It's the ones that are going out intentionally.

Brian Krebs: Yikes. And that, did you say ever or per season? Per season. Okay. One per, that's still, that's pretty dismal. Elk cunning is like 10%. We've been a touch higher than that. I think we're closer to maybe 20% over multiple years within our entire group, and we're like, yeah, that's great. And then you think about 1%, like you'd have to go 20 times statistically to shoot your wolf.

If you're a non-resident. Yeah, like that's like you get a week at a time basically, and you get all this travel, you gotta buy all the tags, you gotta do the hotel or camp or whatever. Like it's gonna add up really fast if you're trying, if you're dedicated to the Wolf Clinton game. And so

Kate Small: we've [00:23:00] created to help mitigate that because it took us years and years.

We've teamed up with Tom Snyder from Stuck in the Rut, who's also a wonderful hunter, and we've started doing a class A course to teach people how to hunt wolves, and he does an online course as well.

Brian Krebs: So is it. Without giving out too much away. Is it similar to a rifle elk hunt where you're predominantly relying on glass or is it more like still hunting, cutting tracks?

So it's

Kate Small: why we teamed up with Tom was because we. Such different terrain. Okay. He's in thick timber. A lot of times we're an open country, so it just depends what country you're hunting. They really like that timber, but they also run those open hills. So for us, we're glassing a lot for him. He's calling them in a lot.

Oh, and so yeah, [00:24:00] terrain.

Brian Krebs: If you are a good enough woodsman or woods woman, I don't know if that's a unisex term. I'm not

Kate Small: offended.

Brian Krebs: If you find a den somewhere, especially on public, I suppose that'd be the easiest. But if you find it and you kinda obviously you don't share the world that, Hey, I found a wolf den.

Can you like hunt it? Smart. But they will, they keep using that den year after year? Or if you start picking one or two off, do they just move out of the whole area completely?

Kate Small: If I would find a den, I'm gonna go buy as many as there are. Okay. That if you immediately but, and in Idaho it's.

But they will use the same den. But if they start noticing, one or two of Mypac members is gone and you leave any [00:25:00] witnesses, is what we call them. If another wolf one gets shot, They're not gonna go back there most likely.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. So you wouldn't like, I guess the waterfall, the term is don't hunt the roost, right?

If you hunt the roost, they're gonna move, but you hunt the feed, like you hunt the field, you know where they're roosting and then you hunt their food source. That's if you could figure out where the den is, at least that gives you like a home base. And so you can start working like around that.

Are they using the same valley to go in and out of every time? Are they hunting in the same area every day? Every time and maybe hopefully get a crack at a couple of them. But I guess that was thinking like year after year. I was assuming you get one wolf per year if you have unlimited wolves and like you can buy unlimited tags, then yeah, you might as well just go buy as many tags as you can and then just do it all at once.

Kate Small: Yeah, exactly. That's.


Brian Krebs: What is, if someone was gonna go wolf hunting with a rifle, not the, not trapping, but with a rifle, what kind of shots should they be prepared for? Should you be prepared to shoot a moving target? Should you be prepared to shoot to x hundred yards? What's the setup?

Kate Small: So I, we started shooting long rings because of.

So I'd be prepared for that. I know, was it two years ago? One of our buddies is a guide and we met up with him and he had a hunter from New York and we had a wolf at a thousand yards and he just wasn't ready by a, but so if you're coming out, be prepared for long, depending on the terrain going on.[00:27:00]

And then also be prepared for if you're calling them in a 30 yard shot as it's running towards you. So

Brian Krebs: yeah, that would be pretty tight. Have you? So 30 yards. Makes me wonder, have you heard of anyone shooting one with a bow? Oh yeah.

Kate Small: So actually the, our buddy, he, it.

A pack of Wolfs came in and I think he shot three with his bow. They were coming after him. He shot three with his bow and recovered two of them, I believe.

Brian Krebs: Wow. So you can buy, there's no limit to how many tags you can have at one time.

Kate Small: Nope. And so what I do tell people if.

Make sure you have at least two or three wolf tags on you, because oftentimes if you see one wolf, you're gonna see more than that. Ooh. And so if you do see them, get a [00:28:00] shot off on them and take down as many as you can, but always carry more than one

Brian Krebs: tag. Yeah. How much is a non-resident wolf tag like, I

Kate Small: think it's 31 do 31 50 oh.

Was the last time I checked, so it's pretty cheap.

Brian Krebs: That's how much my resident dough tags are in Minnesota. Yeah, so it's pretty, pretty cheap. Yeah. So

Kate Small: it's, there's no excuse not to have a bulk tag in your pocket if you're.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. It's funny because we have been talking about hunting Idaho for a few years now and like we're gonna be archery elk hunting, so maybe one would come into a calling sequence, but we're, yeah, it's, black timber, we're probably not gonna see a lot of 'em if we see any at all.

But we're just running outta points in all these other states and we're trying to figure out like what our state rotation is so we can elk hunt every year and Idaho's one of those options 'cause there is no point system.

Kate Small: It's, and honestly when you think you're not gonna [00:29:00] see a wolf is when you do that's, I've never had one of those experiences where I'm runs and I had buddy show me the other day a video and he's just in a, and it's whole packs like, From him just sitting there, that never happened.

And of course he didn't have to tag. And so it's when you're not expecting it, those scenarios.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. That's a bummer. That is a bummer. Is there, so is there any concern with wolves? And like personal safety? In those situations, I know a lot of people, I have a buddy that like carries a sidearm at his property in Minnesota for black bears and he's had some sketchy encounters, but I've never even thought of black bears as like something to be worried about.

But where, what kind of is the general vibe out in where you are, where wolves are like a common thing, a part of life.

Kate Small: I'm honestly more worried about black bears. We've been charged quite a few times by them, but with wolves, they're so smart. They know that [00:30:00] humans mean danger. So I'm not, and now that we're allowed to hunt them so frequently, I'm not as worried about it.

If I were, I wouldn't wanna be without a, I'm not.

I'd definitely be more scared of bears. That being said, a wolf gets hungry enough. Yeah. It's gonna come or it hasn't been hunted if you're way back in a wilderness unit where they're just not getting hunted. Yeah, I'd be a little more concerned.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. That. And it's not just the one like, I don't know, I'm a.

I'm two and a half, three times as many wolves. Like I'm a three x wolf kind of person to give you a reference. So one wolf like, yeah, I would probably get pretty mangled, but I'd probably not lose. Yeah, but three or four wolves, like obviously they hunt in packs like the one you're looking at, it's probably not the one to be scared of.

It's the one that like jumps on you from the side and [00:31:00] then I have no expectations of winning.

Kate Small: That's, I was just we just wrapped up one of our wolf camps and I was explaining it exactly like that scene in.

And that's what wolves do. You'll be hunting them and you're like, Hey, this one's coming. And then you catch like a flash and they're coming from behind you. Wow.

Brian Krebs: So when your, like your buddy that does the calling, does he hunting, obviously he's not using a long range rifle setup. If he's expecting shots at 30 yards, is he using a shotgun with buckshot?


Kate Small: He just uses. What rifle is he using right now? He just had, I think it was three or four last year or two years ago that he, that came in within 20 yards. Younger ones that he just laid [00:32:00] them down.

Brian Krebs: Oh. So he's probably using like an AR platform of a I.

Kate Small: Just

Brian Krebs: a really good, that'd be pretty fast with a bolt action, obviously not using a muzzle loader.

Kate Small: No, and that's one other thing is we shoot the press because they do wise up so quickly that especially if we're shooting longer ranges too, that sound of the impact of it hitting the wolf is louder than your gun going off.

So the wolfs don't really know what to be afraid of and what

Brian Krebs: that sounds. Probably can't quite tell which direction it came from. Especially with long range, like you could probably get on or be a long ways towards getting on your next shot by the time they even hear it.

Kate Small: Exactly. Yeah. And yeah, you mentioned running shots at that's hundred percent.

You've gotta be ready.

See them.

Brian Krebs: So if so, when you're in the open country, 'cause I'm [00:33:00] not even pretending I'm gonna make a running shot on a wolf in black timber. So if you're in open country and you got a wolf pack, like maybe they're not full speed, like they're running away from you, but they're just galling through this meadow.

So are you someone that leads them with your scope or do you like, have a stationary scope and when they hit 30 feet you shoot and they run into your bullet? Does that make sense?

Kate Small: Yeah. It, I mean it depends on the distance and how fast they're going and stuff. Okay. For me, I know, and I'm not as good of a running shot figure as my husband is, but he got two last spring.

Spring before. And they were running and I think that was two 50 yards and he just was leading them.

Brian Krebs: Okay. He just knows.

Kate Small: Yeah, he just grew up, shooting, leading things, jackrabbits and stuff like that.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Like with a shotgun. I'm pretty good 'cause I grew up pheasant hunting and like leading pheasants in the air.

The I just never [00:34:00] know okay, how far should I lead it for a 250 yard shot? And I suppose you get good at it, but the nice thing is with some of our optics that have like windage turrets in your scope, like you can just be like, I need, I know I need to hold like six m o a, and you just put that on the wolf and follow it and slowly touch off.

And maybe that's how you get pretty good at it. Yeah, and

Kate Small: it's practice and wolves are fast. Yeah. So accordingly,

Brian Krebs: right? Yeah. If they're like going full speed, I'd probably try but not be successful. Especially the fir the first time. You're never gonna be good at it long

Kate Small: distances, obviously. There's no way.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. How to lead a wolf full sprint at a thousand yards. That would be a great clinic if you can figure that out. That would be a pretty good clinic.

Kate Small: Exactly, and when you have the distance and you have time to watch them, there's no reason to see them while they're moving. They'll stop and

Brian Krebs: hang out yeah. I'm sure it's best, if you can wait until they [00:35:00] find, if they choose to lay down or bed in front of you. Yeah.

Kate Small: So yeah, there's.

You gotta play every scenario. But yeah, we like those for 300 yards and closer and not educate him.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Yeah, that's a good point. Like you said, should he take for me, like that's a good point. If I went out there and there's a wolf running at 300 yards, I'm gonna be like, I'm just gonna wait till he stops or not shoot this wolf.

'cause I'm not gonna hit it. Like I'm not gonna hit a running wolf on the first try after never trying that. A rifle. Exactly.

Kate Small: And if you shoot at it and miss you, blow all opportunities. If you don't and you wait and play it out, maybe the next day that Wolf's gonna be in the same area might get another

Brian Krebs: option.

Yeah, for sure. So I think that's probably the, I don't like shooting anything that moves. Like it's, I don't know. Yeah. I like my bets. I'm

Kate Small: not the, so I try to stay away from that.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. And even like a thousand yards. It's gonna take [00:36:00] your bullet like two seconds to get there. Like

Kate Small: it takes a while.

And you know that wolf takes a step. That sucks.

Brian Krebs: Just blew it. Imagine if you like, that would have to be so like depressing to see. Bullet and you're tracking like the vapor trail and the wolf just takes one step and you just see dust. Exactly where he was standing. Yeah. And now, like you said, now I educated him.

Now he's running like I did everything right. And then it just, he just took a step in that two seconds. Yep.

Kate Small: And so the long range is tricky because there's a lot that can go wrong.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Are you using just like the best long range guns that like target long range use? 'cause is it. A wolf a hundred pound wolf, like that's a pretty small animal.

So I'm guessing like most of your long range calibers can probably handle the wolf just fine. Yeah. So

Kate Small: wolf, I'll say out most animals, wolfs can take a bullet the best. [00:37:00] I have a video of I.

One 50 yards was the first shot, and it double lunged and the blood's just pumping outta it, and it ran for about 400 yards. Oh my gosh. And so they take bullets well, and they're really hard to find because they crawl under breath. And so you lose, we lost quite a few wolves and I know our friend Tom has just because, they're dead somewhere.

But they're, they either go in a hole or underbrush and you can't find them, which is heartbreaking. Yeah,

Brian Krebs: that would suck. I don't think I would eat a wolf, but I would definitely want to use the hide and like obviously respect the animal. Like I don't wanna just shoot 'em and let 'em lay.

Kate Small: Yeah, no, we don't eat wolves either, but it's nice, for the pel and just to make sure okay, I

Brian Krebs: killed you. Yeah. Yeah. It was a clean, ethical shot. Expired [00:38:00] fast. Everyone wants all of that. So I have eaten a coyote one time and actually talked, have you, this came up on the last podcast we were talking about eating predators and it was actually like a really weird situation.

So it was at coworker at work like is really like a foodie. He's like a foodie first, hunter second. And so he wants to eat like absolutely everything. And he ended up shooting this coyote and he was looking up for ways to eat it. And so he brought it in and he knew I was a hunter. And so he is Hey, you wanna try this coyote?

And he brings it to my desk, like warm, like prepared and everything. And so I'm thinking about it and I'm like, like I predators you can't eat. Like you don't, you can't eat 'em undercooked, you'll get chicken kenosis. Like no one wants to mess with that. And I have no idea like how you shot this, how you cleaned it, how you prepared it, how you cooked it.

I'm like sure. And so he basically made like little sauce, like breakfast sausage recipes. And I tasted it and you could tell it wasn't venison, but it wasn't bad. [00:39:00] But I don't think I would make a habit of it. It was a ground up, so it's not like you're eating like a coyote steak. That would probably be pretty tough.

But yeah, I was like that. Yeah, I tried it once. I didn't get sick. I don't think I'm gonna make a habit out of eating coyotes.

Kate Small: I guess the next wolf I get, I'll have to do the same to you and be like, Hey, I, yeah, I made

Brian Krebs: this wolf. Especially in person, like at the Western Hunt Expo or something where it's like you, like I felt bad saying no He did all this work and I know he did all he told me about it, like he was gonna do it and I didn't say, oh, I want to try that.

I was hoping he would just do it at home and leave it at home. But yeah, like he does all this work and he comes in person, so it's not like you could even pretend oh, sorry, I got busy and, couldn't make it. So yeah, I ended up trying it and it was like, the flavor was fine. The texture was a you could tell it wasn't a deer.

And hopefully it was cooked thoroughly. That's why he did the breakfast of sausage so he could cook it higher.

Kate Small: I'll have to do that for you because [00:40:00] I, if you smell a wolf, there's no way you're gonna eat it. Really? Like they just, yeah. They smell like evil and like death. They smell

Brian Krebs: evil. I have no idea what that smells like.

White-tailed dough don't smell like that. They smell peace and serenity and.

Kate Small: Before I smelled this out in the, don't you know you what it's.

And so yes. No, I'll not eat a wolf, but I'll gladly bring some wolf.

Brian Krebs: This be like a guy Ferrari or what's it? FII guy. FII episode of Wild Eats or something. But to be fair, I shot an eight year old elk one time in like peak rutt, and that smelled terrible too. Oh, it smelled like that beef cattle yard smell with that, like rutting elk it, and he was [00:41:00] pretty old, so that didn't help by any means.

It tasted fine, like you cook it, it tasted fine, but like getting in the field it didn't smell the greatest. Oh yeah. At least those all on the outside of his fur, not on the inside of his fur. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that's a pretty good summary of the wolf hunting. So was wolves your introduction to predator hunting, or did you start with a bear, the, like black bears and mountain lions?

Kate Small: So black bears, I love hunting black bears. And wolves. I tried to hunt them, but I just wasn't very good at it for a long time. Bears, at least in Idaho, they're I love that season because it always seems kinda like a guarantee. Like you can spot and they're just fun. Spring Bear is when I had.

And then I do a lot of coyote hunting too. So for a lot of the ranchers around here I go and take care of their coyote problems. So yeah, just, I just, I dunno what [00:42:00] it's, I just like the predator thing, especially wolves and bears. Something about going after Apex Predator that wants to kill you. I like it.


Brian Krebs: does that mean eventually I'm gonna see a, like a story on Instagram of you on Kodiak Island running around with a bow and arrow.

Kate Small: Oh, gosh, you never know. You never know

Brian Krebs: that. That does seem super fun. I would love to do it sometime. I would want maybe a guide or a buddy with a pretty decent sized firearm behind me in case things do go south.


Kate Small: yeah, and also I don't think I'm to go over on in, that's the

Brian Krebs: problem is I. There's only a handful of species that you can hunt in Alaska without a guide or some type of nexus. Like a relative or a friend or just a acquaintance. Yeah, and I think it's I think you can do coastal black bears. I think you can do moose and caribou [00:43:00] in certain units, but you have certain restrictions.

But I'm pretty sure the brown bears are not on the list of things you can do by yourself. Yeah, I

Kate Small: think and I think even residents, it's like one every four years is all they can head up to, if I'm correct on

Brian Krebs: that. Yeah, that does make sense. So you mentioned you can bait spring black bear can, but you can't bait wolves.

Kate Small: No. You are not allowed to BA rules in Idaho. I don't know about any other states, but in Idaho, there's no baiting wolves trapping. You can use a bait pile, but it has to be, I believe, 30 feet away from your trap.

Brian Krebs: Oh. So it seems interesting, and I guess I don't really care either way, but it does seem interesting that they're like, yeah, shoot as many wolves as you can.

Unlimited. Just buy a tag for each wolf. Yet you can't bait them like,

Kate Small: So they're wolves are so political, I think they have to be so careful on what they allow. Oh. Because we have [00:44:00] all these anti hunters that will come after them and get wolf hunting shut down completely. Gotcha. And so I, it's just more of trying to keep the peace.

So we're allowed to hunt wolves without. The wrong people that are gonna come

Brian Krebs: after hunting. Got you. That makes sense. That if they're like, yeah, this is just gonna look really bad. Like especially people taking pictures or videos and then it gets out. So we're just not gonna do that. That makes more sense.

'cause I know Canada bas em and they a Oh, sure. Yeah, I know the, like I've heard a lot of people that have gone to Canada, they beat 'em in the middle of a lake. So on the wintertime. Yeah. So it's Hey, this guy run all.

Kate Small: Outfitter up in Canada. I might have

Brian Krebs: seen his stuff. When you see like an entire pack of wolves running across the lake, and they'll say Hey, be prepared. And they'll say a lot of times the clients, they're, the [00:45:00] clients are always gonna say, yeah, I'm fine. I'll be fine. I won't get scared.

But then half the time as those like eight wolves are charging towards them, they shoot like way too soon. It's They're gonna come into 30 yards and we're gonna get a couple of them unless you shoot too soon at 500 yards. And then we're not gonna get any of them. And sometimes they do get scared

Kate Small: and having a wolf come in for the first time is a wild experience.

I know it was my husband's first wolf. We doubled up time charging us. He turned around and shot it at 46 yards and that, just having that experience and seeing them up close, you're like, okay, this thing could destroy me if it wanted to. Yeah.

Brian Krebs: I saw your, one of your posts where you were showing the teeth and I was like, that is a gnarly set of chompers.


Kate Small: they're built to kill. They're really efficient, and like I said, you have to respect them, but [00:46:00] I also don't want them all over

Brian Krebs: the place. Yeah, that's a fine line. Like you want 'em there, but you don't want 'em to be like damaging the populations of other things like you. Exactly.

Kate Small: Exactly.

That's the

Brian Krebs: it's nice to hear a bugle sometimes when you're out hunting and when you're hunting in the center of a wolf. Pack. You're probably not hearing a lot of bugles 'cause the elk learn. Exactly. If I bugle, I can get killed.

Kate Small: Exactly. And so landscape.

So that's why it's important to get that down because I, predator management's super important to me because I have two small children and if they grow up and there's no more elk and deer, then they don't get to hunt. And so that's why I'm really big into it too, so my kids can hunt when they're older.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. Yeah. That's really fun. It's always fun to have your kids be able to do the same things as you and not think about I do this now, but my kids aren't gonna be able to 'cause this is gonna [00:47:00] get wrecked before they're old enough. Yeah. Yeah. That's fun. So I assume with the black bear hunting, you said you are eating those.

Yeah, I,

Kate Small: some people hate Black Bear. It's one of my favorite sneaks. So yeah I really like it.

Brian Krebs: I have heard, so in Minnesota, black Bear is predominantly ab baiting hunt. You pretty much have to bait just to be able to see 'em. Otherwise they're in the forest and you just don't get shots. But I've heard.

That those, eh, not the greatest tasting, right? 'cause they've been eating Dunking donuts and fryer grease all summer. Yeah. But I've heard like a spring mountain bear where they're up high maybe eating a lot of blueberries or a fall bear that's eating blueberries, like some of the most delicious meat you'll ever have.

Kate Small: Trying to think of, I.

Because bears are really [00:48:00] fatty. And some aren't. So I dunno if that has to do with it too. With the taste difference, I haven't noticed too much. But I know. We bait a certain way and other people might be using different products as well. Okay. So it's, it depends what you're feeding.

I'm sure. I know I've heard fall and spring bear taste vastly different. I've just never had a fall bear. Oh, to be, to

Brian Krebs: compare it. I like fall is when the blueberries and stuff would be running so well running like they're a salmon, but like when they're ready. So I'm guessing that maybe that adds to it, but they're also probably gonna be fattier.

Yeah. Than a spring bear. So yeah, that'd be very interesting. We'd have to, we'd have to figure out a way to do a taste test and try it both. But Exactly. Yeah,

Kate Small: we, that would be fun.

Brian Krebs: And then we can rank all the predators on a scale. I've heard Mountain lion tastes like chicken. Coyote wasn't terrible.

It sounds like Wolf might be on the bottom of the list. [00:49:00] But that would be fun. And I would, I think Spring Bear is a, On my list because it's, that's a season for me. Like May, June that I have. Yeah. Pretty much no hunting opportunities. Shed seasons wrapped up by then. Maybe a little bit of farm and habitat management on our par on our properties.

Yeah. But not anything hunting related, so that's on my list for sure, is to do a spring bear hunt. And that's

Kate Small: like how we got into predator hunting as well, is we love to hunt, but then hunting season's so short. Yeah. At least in Idaho. And we're like what do we do the rest of the year? And then you're like, oh, there's spring bear that goes from April to June and there's wolf year round.

And so it's just a way to get

Brian Krebs: out there. Yeah, definitely a good way to get out there and enjoy more of the outdoors. You can just go hike, but to me there's a difference between hiking. With a tag and hiking without a tag.

Kate Small: Yeah. I just, I'm no hiker, so I need a purpose.

Brian Krebs: Yeah. That's what [00:50:00] shed hunting is like, it's just a hike, but at least I have like a goal of trying to find an antler.

And so my wife is a big hiker. Before she started residency in med school or pharmacy school, she used to do backpack trips in Colorado. So we're gonna be doing a lot of more of that coming up, which is exciting. Maybe we'll just have to. Do more shed hunting, backpack trips or backpacking trips that happen to be in great habitat for a spring bear or a wolf.

Cool. We're coming up on an hour already, which is crazy how fast that time flew when we're talking about wolves. It. But I wanted to be respectful of your time, plus I still have to get my office set up. Before we end, I do want to give you, Chance to share with all of the listeners wherever they can follow you.

If they're interested in learning more about wolf hunting, where they could figure out how to get your course that you talked about, anything, any place you wanna point to the followers to, to learn more about you [00:51:00] and follow your journey, feel free to give you the rundown. Awesome.

Kate Small: Yes, you can find me on Instagram at Kate Small Outdoors.

You can email me at Kate Small outdoors at gmail com to ask about the Wolf Camp, and then you can also follow the Our Wolf Academy, which is the Western Wolf Academy on Instagram.

Brian Krebs: Awesome. All your wolf hunting needs All in one spot.

Kate Small: Yeah, all in one spot right

Brian Krebs: there. Perfect. I'm gonna have to take the course sometime so I can figure out what I'm doing and if I ever get out west trying to chase one of them.

Yes, absolutely. Awesome. Thank you for taking the time outta your day to talk to us and good luck this fall. If we don't follow up before then on all of your adventures. Yes, you too.

Kate Small: Thank you so much for having me.

Brian Krebs: Awesome. And thank you for listening folks.[00:52:00]