In January last year, a ‘super pack’ of several hundred wolves laid siege to the Siberian village of Verkhoyansk, killing livestock and terrorising the population. All over Yakutia, a large federal state in eastern Siberia, increasing numbers of wolves are emerging from the taiga to stalk prey on reindeer pasturelands, costing the region’s indigenous population an estimated 3 million euros annually.
In response, the government has issued a ‘State of Emergency’, deploying vast sums of money to recruit professional hunters, providing them with snowmobiles and ammunition and offering bounties for every skin delivered to the feet of the authorities. This film follows Ion Maxsimovic, the region’s most successful wolf hunter.
As Ion goes about his work, we learn what it takes to set traps, make kills and survive in some of the coldest conditions on earth. But there’s more here than meets the eye; the wolf holds a special place in Yakutian mythology and, we quickly realise, the social and environmental changes this issue has come to symbolize run much deeper.