NORTHWOODS - Abel Bean has been tracking wolves for 15 years on his own. Now, he's sharing that passion with others as an instructor at Teaching Drum Outdoor School in Three Lakes.
"There's so much more to learn just by following them, seeing how they interact with each other, interacting with the environment," said Bean.
Bean is leading a week long wolf tracking course. He and his students follow wolf tracks in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest with the ultimate goal of finding a kill site.
"What are we looking for when we go out in the field and what are these things going to tell us," said Bean.
Bean said you can learn a lot about wolves by studying the signs they leave behind, even their feces.
"It tells us how well are they eating out there, what kind of shape they're in, and where might we find kill sites," said Bean. "That's all picked up on their tracks and where they're going and where they came from."
Even though they're tracking down wolves, this group never knows what they'll find next.
"Yesterday we came across porcupine and earlier we came across some fox," said student Nick Harnish. "We're seeing all different animals and how the ecosystem works together."
After a long day on the trails, students like Harnish seemed just as excited as their teachers.
"They came in on these roads, they defecated, marked their territory, and went right back on the trail they came in on," said Harnish. "They're very intelligible animals."
Bean said the best way to learn about wild animals is to immerse yourself in their world.
"These animals are very sensitive and they'll just move away and stay hidden, but their tracks don't," said Bean. "You can go right into their lives and find out what's going on."