Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Visitor's Encounter with the Wolves in Brookville, IN

Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 
My daughter, my grandson and myself had one extremely fun afternoon recently. And it was at a place not far from Rushville and one I had not known of until fairly recently. We spent an afternoon at Wolf Creek Habitat near Brookville. I heard of this place from someone who had been there and had enjoyed it as much as we did. My grandson Ethan had wanted to go ever since I showed him on the Internet what Wolf Creek was. A wonderful place where you can interact intimately with a real live wolf. One may come and watch the wolves in their packs for free, but if you want to get close and personal with them you will pay a fee. And to me that fee is well worth the cost if for nothing else but to say you had spent an afternoon playing with a wolf, and came home all in one piece.
Kathy the owner and operator of Wolf Creek is a vibrant lady who loves wolves and wants to keep them in the mind of the youth of today. Open only on Saturday and Sunday it is located southeast of Brookville on Wolf Creek Road - an aptly named street. They had 29 wolves and one German Shepard/wolf hybrid in their packs. There are several packs, three of which you can actually get in and interact with very intimately like getting licked by a wild wolf or even being able to pet and learn about a wolf from the wolf itself. Ethan paid his fee and spend almost two hours with the three packs available to the public. Mary and I walked the cat walk and watched Ethan’s well as watching the other people interacting and other wolves just being, well, wolves.
Some of the wolves were from the wild, others from sanctuaries like Wolf Creek who were more than the other habitat could handle or it was being phased out. Some of the wolves had been born there at Wolf Creek and some had at one time been pets of someone who could no longer contend with them. There were numerous volunteers that would be more than happy to help you understand wolves and in particular those that were at Wolf Creek. A very nice young lady I would suspect either in high school or just out was our guide. She told us of hand feeding baby wolves that had been born on Wolf Creek property as well as feeding and caring for those wonderful and magnificent animals. There were several areas where wolf packs lived and flourished. Some other areas were set aside for wolves who were either healing from wounds or sickness or being isolated because of their actions.
Kathy has been at this for 16 years and lives right there next to the pens full of wolves. One of the guides, I think related to Kathy, actually howled like a wolf and the other wolves there answered him and were slightly riled up for a short time. Even so those in with the packs remained and enjoyed the experience. Our young guide told us of one pack where there were four that were the children of the Alpha male. It seems the youngsters did not seem to get along well with other outside wolves, so they were placed back with daddy and put under some parental control and learning. That was the pack I enjoyed. The youngsters were less skittish and seemed to enjoy human companionship more so than some of the others. When Kathy came out with some fresh meat and tossed it into an enclosure with several people in it I wondered how bright an idea that was.
I suspect that the people in that pack enclosure were aware of what was happening before it came about. They stayed in the background and the wolves checked out the treat, ate the loose meat and hide the bone meat for later snacks. Daddy was in this pack and he went around picking up the bony meat pieces and finding places to hide or bury them. There were some small flare ups now and again, but no one and no wolf were hurt or even worried about being hurt. Some of the wolves had come from out west and had made friends with those from the Midwest. The hybrid was stockier and slightly larger than the true wolves, but seemed to be accepted as a member of the pack even so. Of course there was a gift shop and other ways to bring in revenue for the upkeep of the wolves. I asked about feeding and found out that hunters bring in their kills if they don’t want them and that is given to the wolves. Those who lost their kills to the DNR also contribute to the food chain. I was told during deer season they manage to bring in and butcher and freeze a lot of meat for use later on during the year.
For some reason I loved to listen to the howl of the wolf. I asked about how often they do actually howl and for how long. Seems morning and night, like a rooster I was told, was the usual time. The length would depend on the attitude of the wolf pack and what may be rousing them. I would think living right there would be loud and interesting. The wolves are fed twice a week and stash what they don’t eat to snack on during the day and night. Although there is fresh running water in the enclosure,  it seems the wolves like the mud holes around the watering pans much more than the water in the pans. The place is next to a small creek, Wolf Creek, and is pretty in itself the wolves just are the icing on the cake. I would have loved to get in with the wolves, but needing to use a cane to get around it was not possible for me to do so.
It was a fun time and I would recommend it to any and everyone who likes animals. It is on the Internet and there are even pictures and other information on the site. The cat walks are above the pack areas and one can get some really neat pictures of people being licked and played with by wolves. If you need a great place to go near by, I highly recommend Wolf Creek Habitat for the young and yes, even the old like myself.