The icon on the GPS shows his dog is on the move. For Michael Crippen, it provides hope his radio-collared bear hound has survived the wolf attack that had taken her hunting mate.
It is a gray morning here in the Hiawatha National Forest, about 12 miles south of Munising. The skies will shed rain later. Beech tree leaves are turning yellow and bronze. Angular beechnuts have ripened, and the trees’ serrated leaves lives will cling most of the winter, shivering in the wind. Temperatures are in the 50s.
Blood is on the ground.
Crippen has just topped a knoll and sees flashes of movement, frightening four to five gray wolves that cornered and killed one of his Bluetick purebreds while hunting bear. He saw its last gasp.
The hope that another dog survived ended 250 yards away. That’s where the retired Midland-area pipefitter found “Ring,” an experienced six-year-old tracker worth $4,000 to $5,000.
“There was a long bloody drag mark that led to where Ring was found (that’s why his icon was moving on the GPS) and many of his internal organs had been eaten,” reads the Department of Natural Resources report on the Oct. 12 attack.
This incident in the Upper Peninsula’s Schoolcraft County was one of the last verified wolf attacks in 2013 – 20 attacks in all.