I recently received a missive telling me that someone had captured a possible wolverine on a trailcam in Minnesota. I had him send me the photo and he said it to me right away along with a story about how it came about:
Attached is the photo of a wolverine on my 40 acres of hunting land in Douglas County, Minnesota. This would be about 10 miles South East of Miltona, MN and 7 miles Northeast of Carlos, MN. I had three photos…Nose, tail and this one. I deleted the other two before I realized what this might be.
This creature turned my camera downward pointing at the ground after this photo. The camera was mounted about 3 1/2 feet up on a portable camera mount that is staked into the ground. It has a RAM style ball and socket mount and he was able to turn it down at the socket.
Based on your post from Tom Akenson and a friend that saw one in his back yard in 2004, there appear to have been at least three sightings in the area over the last ten years. This is farm and lake country on the south end of the North Woods. There are some large public hunting lands and river and creek valleys nearby that are somewhat desolate and could hold unseen creatures.
The animal is in the lower right corner of the photo.
He sent this to me because I had written a series of articles on wolverines in the US. There have been a number of sightings in the Upper Midwest in recent years, but only one confirmed wolverine and that one was in the thumb of Michigan. It was photographed more than once and it recently died. Its carcass was found after it died. That wolverine was the first wolverine in Michigan in almost 200 years and the first in the Upper Midwest in a very long time also.
Wolverines formerly ranged all through the Upper Midwest, but they were eliminated from there as they were eliminated from most of the Lower 48 states. Only a few now survive in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. One was recently photographed in Colorado. Another was recently photographed in California, the first wolverine known in the state since the early 1920’s. That wolverine still resides here. He runs about north of Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe National Forest. He is currently in search of a mate, but he is unlikely to have found one as he may be the only wolverine in California.
Wolverines have been sighted in recent years in Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The Oregon sightings were by wildlife biologists.
This photo is not very clear, but if it can be proven that this is a wolverine, it will be the first confirmed wolverine in Minnesota in many years.