Tracking wolves over New Year


We spent the Christmas/New Year holidays at the house. When we arrived the inside temperature was 3 degrees Centigrade but slowly, and with a great deal of wood burning, we managed to get it up to a livable temperature. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the extreme winter like we did last year- we only had snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then again on New Year’s Eve with a tiny bit remaining on New Year’s Day. The rest of the time was dense fog, heavy rain and buckets of mud. When it did snow we had a complete whiteout, which is extremely disorientating when you’re walking in the hills miles from anywhere.


We celebrated traditional Christmas Slovak style on Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law’s house and then traditional English Christmas at our own house on Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve we spent at the house and celebrated both Slovak midnight and British, as usual. This year we didn’t bother with fireworks and instead played around in the freezing garden with sparklers.


On Boxing Day the village hunting society had a big group hunt with beaters but they were completely unsuccessful, apparently due to the sheer number of wolves in the forest this year frightening away game. Upon hearing this I decided to go wolf tracking up in the hills, following the logging road as it winds up and through dense forest.

logging road

My wife and I actually went twice. The first time was on New Year’s Eve starting at around 10am but as it was still snowing no dawn tracks were visible. However, this turned out to be a good thing as the following day, New Year’s, our tracks were the only human evidence visible for the entire length of the logging road as no one else had been up there. It also meant that any animal tracks visible had to have been made within the last 24 hours.

edward o'toole snow cabin

For the first several kilometres, perhaps 3 0r 4, we only saw tracks from fox, badger, red and roe deer. But high up along the snow-laden logging track we finally found evidence of wolf.


The wolves had come out of the forest on the downslope, walked perhaps 15 or 20 metres along the trail, and then crossed back into the forest on the upslope. I made my way into the forest and set up my trail camera. I will leave it there for some time and hopefully get some results.

What was especially good about there not being any human evidence along the trail was that it eliminated dog as the creator of the tracks. plus it was clearly a small pack. We covered a long distance just to find such a short wolf trail. And the forest was especially creepy, stark and mist filled. It couldn’t have been more Gothic. Creepy as hell.

How did you spend your New Year?


2018 has begun and I’m still unsure what project to start next.


  • avatar image Reply William Broxton 06 Jan 2018

    Hello old friend, it’s been awhile. Just been catching up on your blogs. Good to see you’re still well.

    • avatar image Reply William Broxton 06 Jan 2018

      Drop me an Email when you can. Really want to catch up.

      • avatar image Reply Edward 07 Jan 2018

        Hi man. Will email in the week. Haven’t heard from you in years…. Lewis, they’re vampires…

        • avatar image Reply William Broxton 07 Jan 2018

          Indeed they are!

  • avatar image Reply Dane Thomas 13 Jan 2018

    Hi Edward, just reminding you your blog is still much appreciated thank you. Moving to Slovakia next year with my Slovak wife Lenka. I guess you would of but have you seen the Arolla documentary’s Wolf Mountain and Forbidden Forest? Absolutely enchanting….check them out.

    Take care and all the best to the family.


    • avatar image Reply Edward 14 Jan 2018

      Hi man

      Good to hear from you.
      Yes, I know the film. Very beautiful. I know some people who were connected with it. That national park is about 30 miles from where I live. The other night on national news they showed that the bison have just returned. In a couple of hours I’ll be going out to the forest to check my trail cam – fingers crossed.
      This was on the news about a week ago. It’s in the gypsy area of a village about 2 miles from me – Sadly, the lynx has since been found dead from poison, which was fairly predictable. Some people value chickens more than such a beautiful creature.
      It’s a shame you’ll be going to the other end of the country. The capital’s about 5 hours drive from me


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