“If you live among the wolves, you have to learn to be one…”
– Nikita Krushchev
The Outlaw is dead. I killed him. He was the master criminal of the world. Well, maybe not the world, but certainly the Monteregie, an 11000 sq.km region in southwestern Quebec where we have built our home.
The Monteregie is paradise on earth. In summer, it is nothing but rolling farmland, lush with crops of all kinds. Where I live, everyone is either growing or breeding something. And lakes, my God the lakes and their sheer number. You cannot drive ten minutes without bumping into a lake that takes your breath away.
Where we live, a 200-meter sprint in summer brings you to a field sown with barley that stretches to the horizon. Beyond that, for miles and miles right up to the edge, where the earth curves and you can’t see no more, lie the Cascades (rapids), where the Lac St-Louis duels for supremacy with the St. Lawrence. All that land is farmland – alfalfa and soya swaying in the breeze.
I was telling you I just killed the Outlaw and my brilliant mind got waylaid with the beauty of the Monteregie. I do tend ta go off on a tangent when I write. But hey, this is my blog and I’ll write about any fookin thing that comes to my mind, okay?
Where there is great beauty, there is also great cruelty. So did the Monteregie have it’s own measure of senseless killing and criminal masterminds, one of whom I crossed paths with in the late fall of 1930, a time when vast stretches of Quebec were still wild and untamed.
The Outlaw was that criminal genius and his cruelty surpassed only his cunning. Here tonight, he could show up fifty miles on the far side of Dorion tomorrow and devastate a range there. Sometimes the Outlaw killed for the mere sake of killing, often targeting wounded cattle. He would bite and break their legs, chew off their tails and mutilate them in unspeakable ways. He hadn’t attacked a human but still, there was not a farmhand who didn’t feel a prickle down the middle of his shoulder blades, if he happened ta find himself alone and in the dark Monteregie countryside.
If I had been a poetic dude, I would see a bit of Byron or Dante in the Outlaw and if I dug all that classical BS, he would be my Wagner. He loped through every trap and spurned them all and he sniffed at the subtlest poison and knew enough ta pass it by. The Outlaw lived an enchanted life, he was invincible.
The Outlaw was a wolf that was damned good at being a wolf. And this was the Monteregie, where a consensus by the Parks Service the year prior had estimated the wolf population at 280,000. If there were any boys here with the name ‘Peter’, trust me, he would mean it every time he cried ‘wolf!’
The Outlaw had a mate but four years ago she was killed by a suitor. I wasn’t there then but Gaetan Brosseur of the Brosseur Range told me all about how she died. Here’s Gaetan’s story……
Gaetan Brosseur’s story
“I gave the Outlaw’s mate a name – Dorothy because she looked like a Dorothy to me. Wolves named Dorothy are docile and friendly and so I called her Dorothy, even though she had done nothing ta convince me she was friendly and docile, mind you. It was just the look in her eyes, I guess.
Don’t you attach persona ta women’s names? Maybe you’ll call me a sexist but I do it all the time. You have no idea how accurate I could be sometimes. For instance, Sonyas or Sonjas are almost invariably blonde and long-legged and Suzannes are big chested and easy. Marthas are matronly and wife material while Marias are slippery and smart. If you want wholesome sex, morning, noon and night, go for a Ziggy or a Lola. And if you’re looking for more action – someone who’ll exhaust you so you have ta take the next day off, a Delilah or Dolores is a sure bet. Know what I mean? To all my male friends, try it, you’ll thank me later.
Listen, can you stop thinking of names so I can get back to my story?
I was there the day Dorothy died. I could have had the Outlaw then, but I was so mesmerized I forgot I had left the .22 Ruger bolt action by the tree trunk beyond my reach and I didn’t dare turn to grab it. There wouldn’t be enough time. If you get your throat torn off, it still takes a while ta die, y’know – five minutes, maybe ten, with your heart pumping ever faster and your blood spurting spasmodically out through your two carotid arteries. I didn’t want any of that. There’s stuff I still haven’t done in life. Like date Scarlett Johanssen.
I just lay still in the brush and stared at the mayhem unfolding in front of me.
The other male had been slinking in and out of my field of vision all through the fall, at the start of the mating season. I named him Shaman, don’t know why. Relax, with males you can name ‘em anything you like, I don’t care. To my women friends looking for a hunk, I don’t know, just go for a Spunky, I guess. I know first hand you won’t be disappointed.
It was a vicious fight. Shaman jumped the Outlaw just when he was trying ta slip his long red richard into Dorothy. But long story short, Shaman got his neck torn off by the Outlaw’s outsized canines. Dorothy didn’t make it either, having been too badly mauled by Shaman.
The Outlaw never took another mate after that, though two coyotes attached themselves to him immediately after, correctly sensing he was alone and there might be a benefit in an alliance, for them all.
Together, the two coyotes could have taken the Outlaw down if they wished, but they were coyotes, trapped inside their no-we-can’t psyches. Besides, the Outlaw was their meal ticket. From the very beginning, everything was settled between them and the Outlaw – they could never be his equals and definitely not his friends. They could eat from his kill, but only after he was done eating.
And they were funny, boy were they funny. The way they scooted out of his way when the Outlaw wanted ta pass on through, was hilarious. They were like a comic act, Abbott and Costello, with a fawning, ready ta please demeanor on them. They had to be. Somewhere along the way, evolution had decided it for them – that there were masters and there were servants.
And the coyotes were the Outlaw’s servants, period.”
Hi, it’s me again. I hope you enjoyed reading Gaetan’s story, the one with the slightly chocolaty colored text above. And yeah, Gaetan is a funny and interesting guy. I like ta surround myself with funny and interesting guys.
Okay, here’s some things that you should know about coyotes and wolves, even though you might be wanting ta get on with the story …..
Coyotes are way smaller than wolves. The largest coyote won’t go over 50lbs and 4 ft in length , while a wolf like the Outlaw can top 150lb and reach six and a half feet. The coyote has a narrower more foxy snout, while the wolf has a broader more huskyish head. A coyote’s cry is a series of short shrill yelps, while a wolf lets out a very long, low-pitch howl.
A coyote gives you the sense that he doesn’t what he is doing, sniffing here, nuzzling there, scampering around aimlessly sorta. Like those vultures in Jungle Book, it seems ta say to it’s mate,’I dunno, what you wanna do?’ . On the other hand, a wolf will growl, ‘C’mon baby, light my fayah.’
The wolf is way cuddlier than the coyote, though I won’t recommend you try ta cuddle one, no. That’s a very bad idea. Somewhere along the evolution chain, nature made the wolf stone cold and emotion-free, while the husky turned out to be a friendly easily domesticated koochy koo. Doesn’t mean you won’t come across a pet wolf or two over here. I saw one on the riverside last summer. A blonde was hanging on to his strap. Looked like a mean son of a bitch. Not the blonde, silly, the wolf. Wolves are strictly one-master pets.
More importantly, coyotes and wolves have very different temperaments. Coyotes are sneaky lily-livered nogoodniks, yeah. They don’t hunt – they are scavengers and they forage, in pairs or threes at the most. They usually won’t kill ta eat, preferring to wait and gorge on leftovers instead, stuff like entrails, hooves and heads that wolves don’t touch. Coyotes are very much like hyenas, but better looking.
Wolves, on the other hand, hunt in large packs that can number twennie-twennie five and they will form an ever tightening circle and keep coming at you even if you are firing into the pack. In short, if you find yourself alone with a wolf pack closing in on you, you had better have something heavier than a Remington .306, something that’ll make a lot of noise. Strong light too works sometimes, if the beasts aren’t too hungry.
I once shooed away a pack with the flash on my Iphone in one hand and a large flashlight in the other and The Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus is just alright with me” blaring from the little two-in one I always carry to a hunt. It is the perfect emergency noise maker, the two-in-one.
That time, fortunately the beasts must have just had supper. With all that light and rock music, they mumbled and growled at each other, as if ta say,” Fuck it, let’s go get some sleep. That whitetail was a bitch, making us run like that. Leave this dude alone, we’ll get ‘im another time.” And they turned and melted into the brush.
Getting back to the Outlaw and his new found coyote pals, Gaetan told me they formed the Outlaw’s wingmen, one always up front twennie paces to the left and the other twennie paces behind to the right, looking out for any ambushes, keeping the Outlaw warned. In exchange, he let them have the scraps after he was done eating. He never got friendly with them and if they got any closer than twennie feet, he bared his four inch canines and snarled at ‘em and they hastily retreated. He didn’t trust them coyotes, plain and simple.
All in all, it was an arrangement that suited the Outlaw and his coyote sidekicks. Until the time came when I had ta kill ’em both.
(to be continued…)