Wolverine: Soul of Wilderness


What comes to mind when you hear or see this word, name, description? I’d dare say it is not what truly exists.

Michigan’s state nickname? Evil-spirit? Legend? Phantom? Teeth? Danger? Hell-on-paw-w/-claws?

  • How about the most successfully adapted creature to extreme cold climates imaginable?
  • How about one of the most understudied and/or appreciated animals on the planet?
  • How about the rarest ‘actually seen-in-the-wild’ animal in North America?
  • How about the living embodiment of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It” ?

Yes, I believe the wolverine embodies all of these and so much more. If you’d like to see more and know more about this amazing creature – got to the PBS.org site and watch the full Nature program, Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom.

I have had a passionate love for these, largest of the weasel family, since I first saw a presentation of one on the old Mutual of Omaha, “Wild Kingdom” – back in the early ’60s.

It was a frigid north woods winter in the late ’60s, where I had the extremely rare opportunity – and privilege – to encounter and watch a pair of wolverines – in the wild – for over an hour. No camera. Nothing but my eyes and memory to record the experience. The sensation of that memory still sends chills up my spine every time I think of it; which is quite often.

I was never taken serious when I told the story of the encounter. I had no proof; only my story. Wolverines had not been verified as having been seen in that region in over 40 years. Yet, over the years reports of sightings have been persistent. Recently, with the advent of imaging technology, i.e., Trailcams, researchers are seeing verified proof of their return.

Many say the wolf, is the symbol that gives the wild in wilderness it’s heart. I maintain that the wolverine is what gives wilderness its wild soul.

If the wolverine had a theme song, you’d likely find them hummin’ Bosephus’ – A Country Boy Can Survive – through a snarl, oozing attitude that would rock-the-world of a grizzly bear. Hiding their complex nature as a very social animal, has been a successful key in their survival.

But, for all the survival ability it embodies, the wolverine has one major flaw in their arsenal: they are heavily dependent on cold – really COLD – temperatures to survive. As the earths polar and altitude environments heat up, dependable cold temperature, heavy snows and long winter seasons are becoming an ever increasing problem across their more populated range: the Rocky Mountain glacial fields.

To loose the wolverine would be to loose the soul of the wild.

I -for one- am in total agreement with Aldo Leopold, as he poignantly announces, in the first line of his introduction to the book, that has become the repository of his writings, A Sand County Almanac – containing – as the last chapter – what I believe was his most important essay – The Land Ethic,


Abundant Abuse: We have been warned

It is amazing just how comfortable we, in the fortunate minority of earth’s population, can become with a way of taking for granted the most basic of life essentials.

We quibble about not having the right shirt, skirt, pants, shoes or whatever to wear.  We chafe over the least little infraction of our personally imprinted mandate on time.  Our fellow travelers on this road of impoverished awareness of the natural world and our tenuous – at best! – part in it, are no less complacent of their duty or complicit in their premeditated abdication of responsibility.  And each one of us – barreling down this autobahn of destruction – is more likely than not to be clueless to the extremity of our minority value in this issue.

Yet, we certainly seem to be so morally bankrupt in this that we do not realize the extent to which we gorge our pursuit of pleasures at the incredulous expense of the rest of earth’s citizenry; of which we are less than 5%.  Yet, we control the use of 95% of the resources earth coughs up.

Could it be assessed – dare I say, assumed – that we just don’t care? The evidence shows clearly there is no other choice of analysis.  The bill for such a lapse in moral responsibility will come due and there will be no avoiding it at that time.

It will be a sad, sad day when this happens – and it’s not likely that far off. On that day there will be many a lip uttering those damning lines from the morbid poem, Maud Miller –

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
John Greenleaf Whittier (Maud Miller)

We have been warned.

Fly Tying Pillar Passes

Russ Blessing, Inventor of Woolly Bugger, Dies

Marshall Cutchin

on November 2, 2009 8:58 AM | MidCurrent eNewsletter

Combining the constant-motion softness of marabou feathers with a woolly worm fly, Russell C. Blessing’s Woolly Bugger did what most great flies do: it improved on an already workable idea, and it helped those of us less apt to make a perfect presentation catch more fish. Blessing passed away at the age of 74 last Wednesday at his home in Pennsylvania.

O’fieldstream Outdoor Journal
J. Leslie Booth
(765) 252-0251 |Skype|
(765) 463-7949

Posted via email from O’fieldstream Outdoor Journal: Posterous

Forum to address global warming, invasive species for Lake Superior

Cause Announcement from Protect Lake Superior

Happy 70th Birthday, Dave Richey

Today is the 70th birthday of my good friend and esteemed colleague Dave Richey, of Traverse City, MI.

Dave has more awards – on the wall, table and in the outdoor writer awards books – than just about anyone else who has ever tackled the business as a full time – Outdoor Writer. His efforts have garnered him accolades and admiration from around the world of Outdoor Communications. But none of these acknowledgments mean as much to Dave as knowing the dozens of names – of current and past – outdoor writers whom he has had a hand in guiding.

Dave’s greatest level of success is found in the lives of the dozens of outdoor communicators whom he and his talented and charming wife, Kay, have helped; to nurture, tutor, hand-hold, guide, direct and at times, swift-kicked into action, over the last 45 years.

If you’ve ever read a Dave Richey story [newspaper, magazine, book or guide] send him a Happy Birthday email!

If you’ve ever fished for salmon or steelhead in a tributary of the Great Lakes, send him a ‘Thank You’ & ‘Happy BDay’ – for he and his late-brother George – got it all started many, many runs ago.

If you’ve ever read an Outdoor related newspaper or magazine article; watched on TV or listened on radio, to the reporting of an outdoor experience that inspired, instructed, cajoled, cooed or concerned you, send him a ‘Hearty Thank You’ and ‘Happy BDay’ email.

For Dave Richey is the reigning Mentor to Outdoor Writers and Communicators. Yes, you can find others with more books published, or greater celebrity status and far more money stuffed into bank accounts. But, only a mere handful of them, have any trace of the [Hu] in their resume. Dave’s is laden, brimming over, with the successes of professional and personal stories directed and guided by his influence.

Were it not for his tireless efforts on paper, with manufacturers, guides, state and federal agencies – whether at a conference, show or in-the-field, many of today’s successful and important Outdoor Communicators just wouldn’t be there. They wouldn’t even have a place to work.

We ALL owe this quiet, down-to-earth, practicing hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman and crafter of fine prose – a deep ‘Thank You!’ of sincere gratitude.

PLEASE, join me, along with hundreds of others in wishing Dave Richey a warm and pleasant,

“Happy 70th Birthday!”

I will thank you in advance. Because I know many of you will do so. That’s just the kind of folks outdoors people are.


[Hu] = Human Element

John James Audubon, Father of Modern Ornithology

Today is the birthday of the man who gave America, and yes, the world, a reason to watch the bows of trees, eaves of buildings, backyards, forests, clearings, prairie and swamp. A reason to be interested in the myriad of connections we now refer to as the Environment.

Today is the birthday of the man who gave life to an entire industry built around the interest and adoration of one of creations most adored elements.

Born on this date in 1785, in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo (present day Haiti), Jean Rabin was raised in France. Later as a young man he moved to Pennsylvania to care for his father’s land. In 1808 he married a young lady named Lucy Blakewell, who encouraged his artistic talent: painting birds. Though he did so in his spare time, he was trying to make a go of it as a business. By 1820 he gave up on business and turned to the study of birds and painting them full-time. This became his life’s work. His Birds of America, contained life-sized portraits of 1,065 individual birds. Published in four volumes between 1827 and 1838, the man christened Jean Rabin, but now known as John James Audubon, relentlessly promoted it.

Audubon was initially scorned by the ornithologists of his day for posing his subjects in natural habitats and poses. However, today we greatly appreciate his desire to document the wonders of the avian world in a more natural presentation.

Audubon has a very colorful history. Most befitting of the man who first put the world of Birds in colorful tableau before the rest of the humanity.

Read more about this intriguing character of history online at the following:

John James Audubon, About.com
John James Audbom, Wikipedia.com
The Audubon Society
John James Audubon, NNDB

Consider looking up the nearest Audubon Society meetingin your area and attending a meeting. They openly encourage visitors.

I did so recently and am very glad I did. I’m getting hooked on Birding!

Find a BirdWalk as well and participate. You’ll be amazed to find what you’ve been missing – even when you’re looking at it!

Bird Watching isn’t the ‘watching paint-dry’ mind-numbing experience many mistakenly presumed. It’s fun. It’s social. It’s entertaining. And you get outdoors … if not the MOST important part of the whole exercise!

As you go about your day today, and throughout the rest of your life, when you see the birds on wing, roost or about their daily duties of seeking food, making shelter and reproducing their kinds, think of John J. Audubon. He made caring for birds more than just a meal time adventure. Had he not done so, well, there just may not be turkeys and ducks and upland birds to hunt, nor chickadees, nuthatches, finches and cardinals to delight in at our feeders.

People care about birds and wildlife today, owed much to the study and promotion of birds by John James Audubon. Who on this day, would have been 223 years old.

You know there are oak trees in Pennsylvania that were saplings when Audubon was collecting his samples. Now THAT is amazing!!