After I got the moose the next few days were full of smoking, cutting strips, drying, hanging, etc...to be honest, though I have heard much about the notorious wolverine, I never encountered one even in my years in Siberia. For that reason, in my planning they were not in the forefront of my mind. Most of my preparations were to prevent wolves, foxes, mice, and bears from causing a major problem.
For that reason, I did not immediately build a cache and that came back to bite me. The first night I was unexpectedly visited by the predator was when he did the most damage. As stated in the show I had found a plastic gallon jug and packed it with pure kidney fat. I set it on my shelf that night out of the reach of the usual critters and planned to render it. The next morning I came out and to my surprise it looked like a stampede of wolverines came through camp. Seening fresh wolf tracks was a normal part of my mornings by now and not particularly concerning, but this was new! Somehow I hadn't woke up during the commotion and It slowly dawned on me that my jug was missing. It was a nauseating feeling to know what was stolen, (especially after eating a small portion of the delicious the cracklins and fat I made prior and knowing how good it was, ha). Of course, being the thinnest guy there, and assuming someone else may also get game or find sustainability, it felt like tens of thousands of calories could be a difference maker. My next steps were to set warning systems around camp so I wouldn’t sleep through another attack. I covered my meat with branches and set cans on the branches so they would clang when they fell, I set trip lines, etc etc… Almost every night a can would clank and I would run out and make noise to try and scare the intruder off. Finally, one night (on the show) I exited my tent only to find the wolverine within ten yards of me – his eyes glowing behind a bush! I readied my bow and waited – he would have to leave the cover of the bush at some point…strangely enough, after a long wait he vanished… I never saw him leave the bush, but he was gone… Our chess match would continue.
The following day I was scraping the moose hide when I heard a rustle in the bushes – I turned to see the wolverine scurrying along the ground heading towards my meat supply. I couldn’t believe it! I thought they were nocturnal – not only that but here he was in broad daylight running by to swipe some meat right in front of me as I was making noise and talking to the camera! I ran over, grabbed my bow but he scurried away. I knew at that point we were going to have a confrontation – and soon! He knew where the food was and wasn’t afraid of me. As he had been by every night for the last several, I knew he would be back. I adjusted all my early warning systems and waited. Sure enough, just at dusk, the familiar clank. I grabbed my camera, left the shelter and looked in the direction of his well-trodden path. As soon as he trotted into range, always moving at a slow running pace, I took the shot – he was behind a bush, but I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as I did last night and wait for the perfect shot.
The arrow slashed through the bush, through his leg and into the frozen ground behind him! Because it was wedged on both sides and he couldn’t immediately get free and spun and twisted, that’s when I saw he was pinned and didn’t think twice - this was my chance! I turned and grabbed my nearby axe and ran to him – he was chewing at his leg and spun around snarling to meet me, but I swung fast, and my first strike hit him in the gut, my second in the neck, and third and fourth ones followed as fast as I could swing. It was over before I had a chance to think.
It was quite surreal, and I felt like I froze for several long moments as I processed what just happened – but in watching the show I see hardly any time passed at all! I cheered, more in relief than anything. Was it really over? Was this the only one? (we were allowed to take only one)… Could it be that I would now have the feeling of being constantly under assault lifted? Did I really just kill a wolverine with an axe? Can I sleep now? These were a few of the thoughts rushing through my head in those moments after the kill.
Not knowing the answer to any of these questions I decided to build a cache. I have built several in Siberia, and in fact, it was one of the first things the Evenki had me help them with – they were so pleased with the results that I was recruited to build one almost every time I visited hahah.. Finding a spot for one is more difficult than you might think, and the trees I did find were the only suitable spot in my area. I felled the surrounding trees (all except one – so that you can lean your ladder against it - good energy saving idea), built scaffolding, fell the four poles about 12 feet high, and added the beam floor. After skinning the logs to make climbing more difficult, I built a ladder. I was proud of my ladder design as it was dove tailed on one side to make the rungs strong and twist proof, but just notched and tied on the other to make the ladder quick to build. Proved to be an excellent, nail free design.
During this period I kept fishing, ate religiously, improved my shelter, and made more things to benefit my survival...
And so we move forward….