Jeanette's Canadian adventure at Ken Walker's studio

Submitted by Jeanette Hall on 1/10/05 at 1:43 PM. ( )

I arrived home yesterday afternoon from a 2 week long Canadian adventure. I left on Christmas eve afternoon and began the drive north to visit my good friend Ken Walker. It was a 2 day drive from Elko. Once we arrived, we got to work almost immediately. The day after we arrived Ken took us to an elk farm where they raised pure white elk. The elk were not albinos, but more of a cremelo color (if you own horses you understand what I mean). We skinned out 4 of them for lifesize, and in record time! If you know what Ken is bringing to the World show, then you know what these elk are for.

When the elk were all fleshed and ready to tan we went to a taxidermist in Edmonton by the name of Manfred (I hope I spelled that right). He was very nice and I was thoroughly impressed by his rooms full of polar bears and wolves. He had a black wolf that I wanted so bad. When I was a little girl I loved the movie The Never Ending Story. There was a black wolf in the movie that haunted many of my nightmares. Now all I could think about was getting a black wolf for my studio.

A couple of days later that wish came true. Ken got a phone call from a trapper friend of his that said he had a little surprise for me. On December 31 we loaded up the quad and set out for Wolf Creek, Alberta. We met up with this trapper (I'm not sure if I should use his name) and he took us to the same place where he trapped the wolves he caught for Yellowstone. It was a beautiful place full of trees and majical great grey owls that flew around the trucks. I felt like little red riding hood in a way. I just knew this place was full of wolves. It kind of gives you a strange primal feeling knowing that if you got lost out there alone in the trees, they wolves would find you.

We unloaded the quads and set off into the unknown. It was a balmy negative 18 degrees farenheit and the breath I was emitting from my balaclava was causing ice cicles to form on my eyelashes. We wound around a path that seemed to go back in time when no person had ever set foot here. Just as I was daydreaming about being lost out there, the quads stopped. We began walking right into the thick trees. We passed a few carcasses and crows let us know they were not happy about us being there. We walked a little farther, then Ken and the trapper suddenly stopped. I poked my head around Ken's jacket and I found myself looking into the face of a jet black wolf. My heart jumped and I saw that scary wolf in the movie staring at me. However, this wolf was quite dead. I looked around me for the first time. Since we had to walk in single file and in the same foot prints, I was not able to look around until then. The wolf had been caught in a snare that was stretched between 2 big trees. I was so excited! We cut the snare loose and the 130lb wolf was left there for us to pick up, so we continued treking through the snow. We came upon another wolf, and it was black as well! I could not believe it! We dragged the wolves to the quads and continued on.

We stopped not too far up ahead. We only walked a short distance until we came upon yet another wolf- and it was black, too! I simply could not believe the luck. We continued on. We came to a clearing and crossed to the other side where the trees were thick. There we found a 4th wolf, a huge male that was white with grey accents. He was a monster weighing about 150lbs. We loaded the wolf onto the quad and back tracked to where the other wolves were. We left the trapper to reset his snares while we took the wolves to the trucks. Even though I had on so much clothes that you could only see my eyes, I was grinning from ear to ear. Ken dropped off the wolves and went back to pick up the trapper. When they returned, there were 2 more black wolves on the quad! We lined up all the wolves and took some pictures. Then we loaded the quad and 6 wolves into the truck and went back to the trapper's home.

I bought all of the wolves and he had an awesome Canadian lynx that I had to have as well. The trapper was laughing and he told us that he hasn't trapped any black wolves in 4 years. I simply couldn't believe my luck! Now the real work was about to begin. The hour and a half trip back to Ken's was fun. People were driving by slowly to check out the catch of the day and giving us a thumbs up. It was too cool!

The next day we skinned out the wolves. I must admit, I've smelled some pretty nasty things in my life, but NOTHING comes close to the smell of a skinned out wolf! That smell would gag a maggot! No wonder why wolves don't have fleas or ticks, they just smell too bad! It took all day to skin out and turn 5 wolves, I just couldn't go any more. The next day a remarkable thing happened. Wolf farts. If any of you have ever skinned out one of these critters, you know exactly what I mean. The next day you fart and it smells EXACTLY like a skinned out wolf. How does this happen? I guess that is something for another post entirely. The skulls were pretty darn impressive, the 2 big males were 17 1/4". That adventure will live in my memory until I expire. Plus I have the pictures to prove it!

We celebrated New Years with the Walker family and their friends. It was so much fun! After skinning out wolves all day, there is nothing like wine to loosen you right up.

On Monday Colette took me to the Edmonton mall- the largest mall in the world. They have sea lions, a replica of the Santa Maria ship, an ice sking area, a wave pool, an amusement park with the world's tallest indoor rollercoaster, and hundreds of stores. Of course while we were there I had to purchase some reference books about wolves. I got some beaver slippers too. While Colette and I were shoppin, Jeff and Ken were mounting a lynx.

Ken showed me how to mount a competition quality coyote (because I will be competing with one of my own coyotes at the World) and I learned some awesome techniques. Especially in how to make the perfect bondo ear.

We left on Friday morning with a bunch of animals in tow. However, we could not bring the wolves or the lynx back because you have to apply for the cities permit. I hope to have them in about a month. I hated to leave, it seemed like we were only there a couple of days, not two weeks. Colette is one of the best cooks and ranks right up there with my mom's cookin. We were welcomed into their home and so well taken care of it was like visiting family. I highly recommend taking a course from Ken when he begins offering classes. I do not recommend it for beginners, though. There is just so much information to learn! If you want to learn casting, carving, competition techniques and much more, then Ken is the Man!

I can't wait to go back in the spring for a black bear hunt! If you would like to see pics of the wolves, send me an email. I will also have them up on my website soon.

What an adventure! Thank you Ken and Colette!

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Well that ain't what she told me

This response submitted by George on 1/10/05 at 2:12 PM. ( )

In fact, NONE of that was a part of the discussion when I spoke to Ken while Jeanette was up there. I heard about beaver sneakers, camo cladding, and even jellyfish, but nothing about mounting coyotes. LMAO

Great guy

This response submitted by Ron Lambertson on 1/10/05 at 2:26 PM. ( )

Jeanette,you sure are right,he is one hell of a guy.I Had the chance to hang out with him for a good part of the day the week before you went up to his place in NY.Most funniest and talented taxidermist you could meet.

Sounds cool.

This response submitted by Todd B on 1/10/05 at 3:02 PM. ( )

I spoke with Ken a while back on the phone. Seemed like I knew him forever. He seems like a heck of a guy. I look forward to meeting him. Sounds like an awesome trip.

Todd B

hey George!

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/10/05 at 6:34 PM. ( )

Whats this I hear she told you how big Kens buck was?

In pretty explicit detail Bill

This response submitted by George on 1/10/05 at 6:44 PM. ( )

Actually shocked MY modesty.

Wolf Farts?

This response submitted by cur on 1/10/05 at 9:08 PM. ( )

LOL. They say that impaired olfactory sens can be contributed to old age or brain damage. Elmer Gantry figured you got wolf farts by osmosis. I figure that you overwhelmed your little ganglia and the interpretive center in your brain. The sense of smell is easily comprimised, in that any odor eventually tires out the receptors and you can no longer smell it. Like when you get sprayed by a skunk....Smells like hell for a bit, then it smells like wild onions....and eventually you get used to it. Other don't, and skunk odor can get you to the head of any line you stand in.

Funny thing about the sense of smell, you over load the senses, and pretty soon, everything you smell triggers the same short term memory response. Your farts don't smell like roses to anyone, but to you and the folks who were also assualted by the strong wolf odor, they smell just like the wolf did.

I like to eat smoked beaver. The gnawing kind. When I lived in Stuttgart, AR, local folks barbecued and smoked a lot of raccoons and beaver. As long as someone else provided the beaver, I loved it. when I cleaned and processed a beaver for the pit, the castor odor remained with me, and every time I got a whiff of the cooked meat, the ole brain recalled the castor oil smell, and I couldn't enjoy the barbeque.

I think I like Elmer's osmosis theory best.

Rabbit Farts too

This response submitted by Jan George on 1/10/05 at 10:03 PM. ( )

We rabbit hunted last weekend, and it happens when you skin rabbits too. I'm with Elmer. It MUST be osmosis.

Its either osmosis, or last nights broccoli cassorole

This response submitted by ElmerG on 1/10/05 at 10:31 PM. ( )

I have studied this pheonomon for quite some time, and flatuence that smells like a gut shot skinned wolf is pretty common..... but only in Indiana have I ever partaken the pleasure to smell the elusive odour de Sylvilagus floridANUS. As you can see by the last four letters it is appropriately named!

In Indiana

This response submitted by cur on 1/10/05 at 10:37 PM. ( )

It is hard to smell anything past the hog crap.

funny we say all this

This response submitted by Bill yox on 1/10/05 at 10:47 PM. ( )

Years ago us easterners went west to get some mulies. They smelled very different from our whitetails. Next day, you guessed it, we all had mulie farts. It was very noticable. In fact Im sure we already had this conversation in here once or twice, plus the chat. Guys, you all DO remember my SUGAR SMACKS conversation, the pee one? hahaha!

Was going to

This response submitted by Mr. T on 1/10/05 at 11:02 PM. ( )

bring this agenda up last week after skinning a deer, I am no Dr. but wouldn't it be due to breathing in the animal smell with the oxygen, blending it into the blood stream, then out the pooper? If it is a trick brain thing, how come my wife comments on smelling the deer fart, when she was in the house all of the time?

"The gnawing kind" Bill?

This response submitted by marty on 1/11/05 at 1:09 PM. ( )

too funny - you dawg!

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