Snow fell early in November and closed all the passes in the Barguzin range. Wolf Pack, which controls the eastern shore of the lake to the north of the river Big Chivyrkuy, was cut off from the rich mining and little snow taiga Padej.

All frosty January wolves roamed the coastal hills, but other than the pitiful remnants of hides and already gnawed bones in old hustle to find it did not work out. The pack kopilas anger, ready at any moment to result in a bloody fight. Six animals — leader, wolf, three profit and pereyarok animal instinct knew that not all of them will survive this winter. The leader tore impotent fury on the young, and most of all battered pereyarku. Useful for flocks of last winter, and now the young male was just a burden.

But there are days in the forest, where wolves and luck. Examining another rocky promontory, surrounded by a pack and kicked out of the taiga in the gaping ice musk. Pereyarok was faster than everyone and batted first on a thin neck, jaw kabarozhki. Flying to fluff the snow-covered ice with prey ten meters, the wolf (let’s call it Rytym for his rugged face and scars in honor of the most mystical in Baikal Cape) immediately got in the mouth mad from hunger and chase brethren. The leader grabbed his throat with all the force of its jaws that can crush the bones of elk, and growling fiercely, began to choke her own son. And probably would have killed if, obedient to another time and humbly recognizing his right to spoil the flock did not start to tear musk.

The leader threw choking pereyarka, polosnuv fangs on his unprotected side. To escape from the fighting wolves tangle of bodies and remains of the musk deer, knocking on the move profits moved towards the coast, into the forest. Swallowing blood-stained snow and picking up the pitiful remnants of prey, wolf and profits, whimpering from anger and powerlessness, tails between their legs, trot went after him. Only care leader kept them from killing beating the snow bloody and wheezing pereyarka …

But what is the musk deer carcass for five hungry wolves? Licking and watching every movement leader, swallowed the last piece, wolves, roll among small cedar, turned toward the lake. Beside himself with rage and hunger, growling and overtaking each other, all five of them flew to the ice.

— Look, wolves, wolves! — I yelled, sitting behind the wheel of an old «Niva», to leave because of the cape, unshaven little man in camouflage pea jacket.

— Drive, drive, Alex, will cut them from the shore! — Heart-rending yelled his companion, peacefully dozing a moment ago.

— To drive something crack vish what, right across the road — like a dive, so spring up and vynyrnem — pressing on the gas in the heat hissed Alexey.

— Take it to the right, closer to the beach!

— Toros what hummocks look! — The driver tried to straighten the car lost control, spinning the wheel and pressing on the brakes.

— Well, it arrived — the passenger muttered after «Niva», skidded a ride on the ice, hung in the open Toros.

— Well, at least not in the crack.

— Still is now in the cold for an hour, dig now.

— Damn these wolves.

— Yes, they turned out — went back into the forest.

— Our in reserve will tell you do not believe it: in bright at Baikal seen the wolf pack! — Examining hardly affected machine boasted Aleksey, satisfied safely over adventure.

At this time, a hundred yards away, hidden line hummocks, limping badly and losing on the move drops of blood in the direction of a large sea went hungry and wounded animal.

Above the lake, clad in half-meter ice cap, rising flecked frosty haze the January sun. At the dawn of the cold sore, and from time to time over the icy desert I heard a terrible roar — popped, giving rise to bursting and long, often across the entire lake, cracked ice, with great force pushing and piling up huge blocks of sparkling hummocks. A dozen kilometers from the coast, hidden behind a large ice floe from the piercing wind, completely grown weak wolf got a maturation. Licking a deep wound, Ryty compressed into a ball and shaking with every movement of the ice. It was scary, but something told beast that here today it’s the safest place. Here, among the ice rumbling and not there, in the silence of friends since childhood wooded gully. After waiting ambulances at the time of twilight, Ryty continued on his way. But the cold and famine did their work. The forces gradually left him. Even more frightening wolf unknown. He had never gone so far into the ice. Buried in a fresh fracture and not having the strength to jump over it, the beast plodded along, going farther and farther from his native shore. Day wolf hiding in the hummocks, and at night, and often painfully resting quietly walked across the ice. By the evening of the next day warmed and blew Goryanka. Woe to him who finds the weather on the ice! Wind rushed fiercely terrible, blinding snow and howling charges more than the largest wolf pack in the world. Hiding under the hanging, rock, ice, two days and two nights spent Ryty hungry, waiting for the blizzard. But there is a silver lining — the wound stopped whining and started to tighten, no wonder the beast it licked.

At night, when the wind died down, the wolf got out, had broken a tunnel in the snow covered it. Under dark skies glowed close, bright stars. Moon was rising. Instinct, Ryty looked up to the sky and howled over … endless snowfields echoed soul rending howl of a lone wolf. But suddenly, in response to a familiar and almost native sound. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked. Wolves do not often, but had to kill the dog, dragging from under the noses of local hunters huskies or finding stray from the owners pampered shaggy «tourists.» Dog — easy prey for the pack. Suppose now that the wolf was alone, hunger and thirst for life drove him forward. Soon Ryty saw the outlines of forest and smell it. More specifically, the outlines whether taiga Glens among old burnt solid, whether forested island in the boundless ice field. And one of them, with the largest, heard a dog barking. Even without seeing the production, an experienced hunter has determined that it is not husky, and simple yard dog — the dog in the woods powerless and useless. Approaching housing rights, Ryty easily lured the victim into the undergrowth, a powerful blow knocked breasts had never seen a wolf dog and grabbed his throat …

In the silence dragged the carcass in the middle of the island, the wolf was enjoying their meals, swallowing whole chunks of fresh, hot meat. Then he curled up, he lay down for the day in the most remote part of the forest.

In the morning on the island, the largest of the three houses a weather station, the door creaked. The hostess went outside to collect firewood.

— Ball, ball! — Quietly called it a dog. But the dog did not appear.

— Petrovich! — Passing through the yard, she called coming from devices with Dedkov porozovevshimi frost unshaven cheeks. — Petrovich, you have not seen the Ball? Yap night, fox, perhaps, again resorted — and now lost somewhere …

— No, Tatiana, did not see. Maybe hiding under a shed? Temperature-now minus thirty-two, and nine would be even colder … This is after a blizzard explained, and tomorrow is warmer and the snow is. Cold enough for us!

— Yes, the wood takes so much!

— Yura something when the hospital back? It’s boring without him …

— In March alone, not before. Let treat, perezimuem really, not much time left.

The next morning, as he had promised an experienced forecaster, it began to snow, falling asleep burying the old tracks and until then the mystery disappearance of a universal favorite bead …

On the Big Island Ushkany as people call it, and lived until the spring Ryty. He caught his familiar prey — lived here in a variety of birds — and is no longer fit for human habitation. In winter, people did not go around the island, and only occasionally saw the beast away passing cars with fishermen so rare at this time of year, with tourists.

It would have remained unknown until now scientific fact wolf presence on the islands, but in early April he returned to the mainland dog’s owner. And during the first detour around the islands Yuri saw a trace.

— Tatiana, now I know where our ball has got to — drowning out the storm, said his wife, Yuri.

— Yes, the car ran a stranger, probably.

— The wolf devoured it, the whole island to the next!

— Oh, and here where the wolves?

— Not a wolf, and the wolf — this seems to be a loner.

— Or maybe a trace of a dog? — Questioned Dzyadok-forecaster.

— Well, the dog! Am I on the trail of a wolf dog is not different?

— Now what do we do? — Tatiana anxiously asked her husband.

— Let them live, passing a wolf … soon he will go into the forest, which he then, in the islands sit.

— Well, first he Sharik killed, and now you want me to feed him! — He wailed his wife. — How can I remove the readings at night be?

— Dangerous this thing! — Tatiana supported its authority Dzyadok.

— Okay you wail something, the whole winter passed, and now suddenly frightened?

— Yes, I know that the wolf is near, life would not come out of the house.

— Exactly! — Chimed Dzyadok.

— Okay, okay, so, take a sin, it’ll get a wolf, — assured Yuriy meteorologists. — And leave the country without a long-term forecast.

Ryty immediately felt the interest to the person. What danger are hunters, the wolf knew firsthand. The very first in his life came in the fall flock zverovoy paddock on the other side of the ridge. When shots scared the wolves at bay divided, Ryty not run with the sound of the beaters, and lay down under vyvoroten in Gorelnik, skipping past him yelling and banging sticks on tree trunks riders. But his two brothers and sister, trying to break through the chain of arrows hitting the bullets. Only on the third night, he caught up with his parents on the trail, and since then has never appeared in those scary places …

Hunter walking on his trail, Ryty noticed quickly. During the time that the wolf lived on the island, he studied here every trail and calmly controlled the movement of people, without showing in his eyes. Settled quickly tayavshy snow became his ally. Spring did its job, and soon the snow was only on the northern slope of the island. But the man persisted to track down the beast.

Everything changed when Big eye stopped overnight last this season fishermen town. Stimulated by alcohol and expensive complaints hostess at the intruder, they offered assistance to Yuri in the hunt for the wolf. Leave in the presence of Tatiana was impossible, and the next morning on the island began rounding.

Rybakov was brought to the North Cape, where they dispersed along the coast and stretched chain ready for the paddock. Yuri with her an old installer, having studied during previous hunting behavior of the wolf stood at the junction so that the entire slope viewed from the top of the mountains to the coast.

Ryty, after a failed hunt is now become very cautious birds, prone to dozing, prigrevshis the sun. Suddenly, on the side opposite to the human habitation, there was a terrible noise coming from a dozen fishermen tinned sip. A pair of crows, to finish a new nest, with disturbing croaking swam over him, giving presence of a predator.

Jumping, Ryty was rushed from the beaters, but remembering the lesson learned, turned around and walked a confident trot right on the circuit. Only the forest on the island was not the same as a large taiga — rare among growing trees to hide big beast was nowhere …

In the soul of Yuri struggled with mixed feelings. He had been forgiven wolf death of his dog, and as an experienced hunter knew that there was no danger to the public is not the lone predator. In addition, he was an inspector of the national park, devoted his life to the protection of Lake Baikal, and did not want to shoot on his island by a wild beast. In those days, when he left the house with a rifle, he thought he did not get a wolf, but for the sake of interest only to look at him. But on the other hand was the promise given in the hearts of his wife, and has already started penning.

Hunters know — there are times when, standing on the room, you think: «If only did not come out, just not on me!» And the reasons for this are different. Now Yuri hoped that the beast had already left the island — for twenty-five years of my hunting life he did not remember the case that the wolves come here, and especially here detained. Only once I went to the Big Ushkany wolverine, but empty-handed, went through a day in the direction of the Holy Nose.

— Wolf, wolf! — Heart-rending yelled from the ridge panting beater.

And with a vengeance rattled over the lake and the roar of curses, not detached even after yesterday’s copious dinner Brigade volunteers.

Ryty fear darted along the chain, without risking a lot to break the cool arc paddock. And hitting the trail ran along the slope away from the screams of people approaching.

From the sound of the pen Yuri knew immediately that the wolf is still here, and he had no choice left. A moment later he saw a gray silhouette flashed up the slope.

«That’s up to that progalinki come, and all» — driving the beast at gunpoint, thought the hunter.

A wolf, emerging on the meadow, suddenly pulled up, sensing a familiar scent, and went looking man in the eye.

«You know, he lost himself after a predator!» — Yuri whispered. However, to shoot some reason not speshil.Volk turned and slowly stood up on their feet.

Not sweet as you lived here, the beast, the hunter said, you are here not a good life.

Wolf, after a pause, took the first step — and raised a paw up in the air. Another couple of seconds — another hesitant step. The animal crossed the clearing, he stopped and turned his head to the Jury. In the eyes of the wolf was no fear, only bewilderment.

— Go away, go away! — Yura asked softly. — Do not you need me, I can not kill you, and I will not.

The wolf disappeared in the forest, and at the same moment a shot rang out, the echo of which swept over the sun-drenched spring Ushkany Islands.

— Took took! — Thundered around.

— Gone! — Loudly shouted back Yuri.

How to go?

Lubricate I just saw a glimpse. Then shotgun jammed! — Distorting valve trouble-free installer, the shooter was justified before beaters.

— Let’s paddock — where to get away from us! — Shouted the men. — Once again, expel, while not smazhesh.

— Catching up with him now — he is, I suppose, by the Orlovsky cape runs! shouted others.

— It can be seen, it would be like leaving!

— And where did you see? On this side of the way!

Let’s go guys, now go to the mainland, we scared him firmly — confidently said Yuri.

But Ryty stayed. Even the fear of people could not drive them out from under the protection of the forest freed from the snow on a slippery, bright sparkling ice. A few days later he rest up, huddled into the thicket, and then, one night, went to the beach.

There were no stars, no moon — clouds delayed the sky. Above the lake cried the first time in the spring Gulls. Trampled on the shingle, the beast went on a dangerous ice and trotted into the darkness. Paws slipped and fell several times Ryty, stretching the entire length. Blowing wind toward conveyed to him the smell of a new earth — the course was three small, overgrown with larch forests, the island on which he often watched with great.

Going round the side pieces of sushi, wolf heard the first sounds unfamiliar. With a screech of splitting into separate blocks, begin to move the huge ice cap. Sacred Sea wakes up after a long hibernation. Dehydrated ice disintegrated into long sharp needles that ominous rustling in the water lead polynyas. The path to the mainland was closed. Cautiously looking at growing by the minute living surface of the lake, Ryty tried to bypass a terrible obstacle. But the passage was not — polynya stretching from coast to coast. The wind was strong, and suddenly the ice beneath Rytym crackled and began to split into huge blocks. The terrible force of the lake broke the ice as eggshell. Everything thundered and in motion. Stumbling and risking every second to get into a new crack Ryty rushed back. He barely had time to jump on a rocky cliff, ice torn from the coast and with a crash dragged into total darkness.

Ryty again on the island. It was one of those small patches of land, by which he ran just a few hours ago. People call this island slim. Half a kilometer long and at its narrowest point is less than two wolf jumps — the island at this time of year was uninhabited.

Again came the famine. Until not arrived gulls nesting on the spit Ryty found only a few withered mumifitsi Rowan carcasses of dead birds in the past year, but the old and rigid, ka (tires, buy Kal seal skin still pahnuschuh dead fish.

Then there were unsuccessful attempts to be molting seals that got out there on the coastal rocks to bask ng the sun, and the collection of the first eggs in the nest) gulls. The lean, which began shedding Zver (hardly could learn silnogs and brave hunter, with whom we became acquainted in Barguzinskaya taiga coat hung scraps on the living leather-covered skeleton. And tolks eyes betrayed in similar to Bezden tion abandoned dogs Rytom wild freestyle beast .

As soon as the ice is gone from the lake, not the islands appeared the first boat with the Rist. Everyone wanted to see the seals landed on the beach, people just did not disclose the wolf refuge. But pebble beach so soft moss, barely concealing dy securely kept secrets of the island And all precipitated wolf fur SWAT whether the litter in the nest suffering from raids Rytogo birds.

But one night, after a sound chalivshey boat Ryty characters caught my scent. On the island he landed brow century, who hunted him all the weight well, and then for some reason it gave life}. At dusk, the boat was gone, but the two men remained and apparently permanently light up the fire, and soon the smell of £ Luda and things filled every corner of the island ma Lenka. Waiting kogdg people calm down, the wolf first Vaucher; into ice water lake. Ryty short time sailed to a nearby island, but its B; barely enough, and these five hundred meters to shore, shaking of the cold beast buried in moss.

Now, because of the constant presence on the neighboring island tion of people, the wolf keeps track of all the days in the coastal cliffs, and at night scoured the coast in search of prey. And then that he finally got lucky. After a severe storm washed ashore just two wounded game-carcasses of seals killed by the bullets of poachers. Drag them into the thicket, Ryty the first time in recent weeks had eaten to satiety.

A few days later, lying in his shelter on a rock, he saw the great seal, pushing others squeezed into the gap between the rocks and disappeared in a shallow, barely visible from the shore, cave.

Just waited, Ryty down to the lake and wandered almost to his belly in the water, quietly crept up to his new production. Toss a short scramble — and now beats, waving fins, the body of an old male seal — Argan — become helpless on the shore.

Now the wolf eats off, getting out of the cave seals as soon as the meat of another victim ended. Not immediately, but Ryty accustomed to his new food, donating fish oil. Young animals gained weight again, faded wool zalosnilas. And life went from Rytogo as the resort.

In an effort to diversify the «fish» menu, select the wolf get the hand of white-tailed eagles prey from. A pair of adult birds and their wing chick gets up in August came from the mainland to hunt here moulting mergansers. During moulting mergansers we lost the ability to fly and became easy prey. Working in pairs, adult eagles easily mined these big ducks. A Ryty, waiting eagle will sit on coastal stones and begin pinching caught a bird, swirl flew out of the bushes and took away the feathered predator of its prey.

But soon it was time to autumn storms. Lake could not calm down for almost a month. An endless roar of rolling waves, the wind and the spray drifted through the larch needles start to fall off to the middle of the island can be a maddening anyone. Ryty howled with anguish, but the roar of the surf and the wind drowned out the sound of wolf tracks. With the advent of autumn he returned and hunger. Seals do not get out to the shore, the birds left the island. From its former prosperity was gone. Ryty ate cranberries and Shiksha. But the crop of berries was bad, and the berries quickly emptied.

In one of the first serene days Ryty habit went over the cliff, and checked the empty cave. Odour seal blew autumn winds, and nothing more reminiscent of successful hunts, unknown to the other wolves game. For the next night he lay on the coastal rocks of cooled already looking toward the darkening horizon far to the mainland. In the morning, I went into the water and swam to his native shores.

Only unprecedented persistence and fascination to life Rytomu allowed to swim in the icy water of Lake Baikal, where the hand of man numb after a couple of minutes, nearly eight kilometers. He had been exhausted, but do not know the wolf tired legs that can run hundreds of kilometers per day, all rowing and rowing.

And now you can see in front of trees and the shore, hear the voices of boreal birds. Our hero almost crossed the strait between the islands and peninsulas Ushkany Holy Nose, accurately determine the narrowest place. Pull their socks up, Ryty made a last spurt. Even some three hundred meters — and it is on the shore!

— Sanka, look, seal, or what?

— What do you seal, seals do not swim, the beast of some sort!

Come on, turn off, now see that there is a beast.

And vynyrnuvshaya due Orlovsky an old Cape Kazanka with two passengers, without slowing progress toward the floating wolf.

— Look, Sanka, which floats the Wolf! Where once it took here, I get it?

I gaff, gaff come on!

— Yes, where he then go away from us, to the shore, there’s almost a hundred meters further — on a boat circling around a wolf holding someone hook, screaming with excitement steering.

The waves raised by the boat, with his head covered with a wolf, not letting him go.

— Now, Sanya, hit him on the head — you see, it begins to slurp!

And sitting on the nose, Sanya, contrived, struggling to hit the wolf hook. The beast in agony spun on the spot. The water turned crimson with blood.

The second shot went right into the open in a dying snarl cleft palate, teeth crumble to pieces.

— Push it to the boat, catch hook! — He commanded the boat drowned man.

— And why is it us? Nets won recruited — confuse them, without fish remain. And skins he still summer, and who is the dog ripped off? Are you? — Reasonably expounded Sanya, still holding the hook already lifeless body of a wolf.

Okay, throw, who he really is needed! Let’s go to put the network, and then, God forbid, the inspection was coming, — Start Your Engines, he ordered the helmsman.

Sanya pulled the curved end of the gaff and skins, rinsed in water, carefully put the tool at the bottom of Kazanka.

— Let’s go, let’s go, so there is so much time lost!

The engine started and the boat raced toward Chivyrkuy Bay.

Knackered, disfigured by the carcass of a wolf, slowly swaying in the clear water, it began to sink to the bottom of the world’s deepest lake. Bloodstain spread out, and the waves on the shore spilling its remnants, sprinkled Wolfblood coastal pebbles …

A day later, the island where Ryty lived all summer came to pick berries Yuri and Tatiana. Just set foot on shore, they realized that they are a long time old friend Robinson. Anyone who ever deprived of their beloved dogs and lingonberry jam for the whole coming winter. Already untying the boat, Tatiana said soothingly to her husband, and have not learned to hide his feelings:

— Yes, you do not touch the wolf shall live, once caught!

A month later he came by boat to the village for groceries, Yuri overheard a drunken poacher boasted that killed a wolf hook.

— Why do you have it? For what? — I asked Yura immediately understand what kind of wolf in question.

Like what? — Sanya surprised. — And why are you in the forest beast beat?

In the taiga, hunting, mining beast, when you can and if you can, and in the water, then why?

— So the wolf, the pest! — I tried to argue Sanya.

You yourself pest damage on you much more than the wolf! And because you live … — Yuri waved and upset, went back to the island to gather.

— What are you so gloomy? — He called his old friend, Inspector of the Barguzin reserve Alex, who had come to the village to meet his son, a student. And Jura told him everything I knew about the men killed by wolves.

— Bold was a wolf — Baikal crossed! Sorry for the beast, of course — truly supported him Alex.

That’s what a shame that people have become worse than wolves, beat all in a row, with the first case. Who got to the lake without fish sitting, and soon the beast, and will not. Why go to something, Alex? Tomorrow we that are not going to live? -with pain continued Jura.

Yes, it became difficult to work with. Poachers more and reserve our once closed, will reorganize. Some adjustment yes reboot! We have just a little just to live, without revolutions, because there is the beauty of a kind. And yet … For the children should live.

— For the sake of the children live.

And where do we, the Jura, from their native land, then go? — Alex sighed. He paused, then suddenly spoke again: — I recently heard the wolves: they howl at us. Young appeared here in the evening roll call and arrange. And last winter we have them right on the ice saw — all the flock, about five. That she, my brother, our life taiga!

Yes, we live, Alex! — Pitting the boat from the shore and glad that at least someone here understands it, said Jura. He headed home towards Ushkaniye islands where strangers appeared infrequently, and all he had understood and familiar.

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