Back when I was much younger I prospected in the summers.  One summer we were in Northern BC, above timeline, somewhere in the mountains southwest of Smithers.  Our camp was in a cirque, a round valley near a ring of mountains.  We camped in the middle beside a couple little streams and were working the mountains around the camp.

One day we looked down on the camp and saw a brown shape marauding through and checking it out.  One of the two of us shot a revolver in the air, the noise echoed around the valley and the brown shape ran off.

Our camp was miles and mile from the nearest road, so we were supplied about every ten days by helicopter.  The pilot, a guy we called Roger Ramjet, had dropped off spare cases of aviation gas for his helicopter in case of needs.  These wooden cases held two large cans, 10 gallons each I believe.  The cans were metal and could be removed from the wooden crates.

We figured that our visitor was a wolverine.  They are rarely seen, extremely vicious, very wily.  They are described as 40 pounds of teeth, claws and fury.  They mark their potential food, that is they urinate all over it.  We felt that we had to do something or our food supply would be “marked.”

In our roaming the nearby hills we had found an old foot trap, the kind that snaps shut when stepped on.  That gave us the idea to make some traps for teh wolverine.  We went to the nearby woods down the hill and cut a couple six foot logs of considerable weight and some other branches.  We drove a couple stakes in the ground and on one we fastened the trap.  We leaned a couple of the heavy logs on sticks that could easily be knocked over.  We also took an aviation gas box and with other pieces of wood, built a sliding door the kind of trap you see in cartoons.  We put bait in the box, with a string tied from the bait to the sliding door.

It was a maze of traps, but we didn’t want to lose our food supply and we knew that wolverines were very clever.

We left the camp for our work on the talus slopes and above looking for possible mineral deposits.  When we came back for lunch, which we rarely did, we noticed the logs had been knocked down.  We cautiously entered our trap maze.  Apparently the wolverine had found the bait in the box, taken it and was leaving when he hit the prop on the log and when he reacted, he stepped in the trap.  Then he heard us coming and decided to hide in the box whose sliding door had not worked.  We snuck up on the box from behind, knowing he was inside because the box was moving, and quickly slid the door closed.  I held it down, on the rocking box, while my partner nailed it shut. We put a log on top to hold it down.

The wolverine was not happy and had the wolverine equivalent of a temper tantrum.  Now we had a problem -  what to do with the wolverine.   We had it trapped; should we shoot it?  We thought that would be cruel.  So we fed it some food to calm it down.

That’s when the helicopter arrived bringing in our supplies..  We persuaded the pilot to take the wolverine back to town, Smithers, where we knew there was a large rabbit cage which would be a little more roomy than the aviation gas box the wolverine almost filled.  We strapped the box to the side of the helicopter.  When the engine started, the wolverine went berserk trying to chew is way out of the box.  But off they went and our food supplies were safe again.

We had hatched the idea to call our local zoo, knowing that wolverines were rarely seen or captured.  Often trappers would just shoot them because the wolverines will rob traps of what they think is their prey.

Our town associate, Wilf Watson had a spare cage.  He called in to the zoo in Vancouver to see if they were interested.  They said they needed some time to think, but what they really did was call the Provincial Wildlife Management Unit.  They descended on poor Wilf and confiscated the wolverine.  They took the wolverine our to the bush to release and gave Wilf a ticket for trapping without a license.  He was not amused.

When I got back to town, Wilf told me I owed him $10 for my share of the fine and some steak he bought to feed the wolverine.  Steak!  I asked.  He ate better than I did.

To see a wolverine in the wild, here is a National Geographic clip.

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