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Big Paw (Electronic version)
by Boniface Idziak « View this author's BIO
I prospected for several months in Shields Township, and never came across any wolf tracks of unusual size. That is until one fall day when I was working a claim in Shields Township. I was busy chipping away at a rock formation when I had the feeling that I was being watched. There were many times when a man alone in the bush got that feeling. But that day, the feeling was so intense that I stopped what I was doing and took a long look around, hoping to catch a glimpse of whoever or whatever it was that was watching me.
I knew that Shields Township had more than its share of black bears. On many occasions, while mapping rock structures I sensed bears close by. A few times I even got a good look at them before they took off into the thick underbrush and out of sight. But today I had the feeling that this was no bear watching me. And if it wasn't a bear, then it had to be another prospector or a wolf! Whatever it was, I felt that it was observing me cautiously.
Now, more sure than ever that I was being silently observed, I picked up my axe, sharpening it as I walked slowly against the gentle blowing breeze.
Recommended for ages 12 and up, including adults
Set in the wilderness of northern Ontario, the lone wolf of this story earned the name of 'Big Paw' from an area resident who made his living trapping. Although the trapper could only catch glimpses of the wolf at a distance, it gave him the opportunity to examine the wolf's paw prints left behind. They were as big as coffee cup saucers, bigger than the prints of any local timber wolves.
The rumour of a large 'lone wolf' in the wilderness can be very exciting and compelling to a prospector new to the area and who had only seen one caged up in a municipal zoo. Having seen a captured wolf made him wonder what this exquisite animal would be like if given his freedom, released back into the wilderness?
Would the prospector encounter 'Big Paw' face to face, since he was such a shy wolf, or just be fortunate enough to see his tracks, wondering if 'Big Paw' was hidden near-by watching and waiting'?