OUTSIDERS: Gordon Haber

Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2007

Occupation: Independent wildlife scientist

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Favorite Outdoor experience: I could not begin to come up with just one. I am out there year-round in the most beautiful country in the world, watching wolves. Every day is an extraordinary experience. How could I possibly single one out? Every day is an adventure - there is always something new that happens.

Close encounter: I've had a lot of close encounters with bears, wolves and irate moose, but not intentionally. It just happens. One in particular, with wolves in 1967, is recounted in my doctoral dissertation. The wolves of the "Savage" group discovered me near their den and most of them did not have a problem - one even came over and lay down 10 feet away from me. And then the big black alpha male woke up and came over. He was growling and urinating and was pretty upset with me. For a while I was beginning to wonder, but then he ran off with the rest of them.

Favorite season: I love them all. What I like most is the variation. I have relatives in Florida. I go down to see them once in while, but I could never imagine living in a place where it is always the same weather. I love snow, the summer greens. I like the spring blossoming, the fall colors. I think all the seasons are beautiful.

Favorite outdoor sport: I've played hockey since I was 5 or 6 years old back in Michigan. That's one of the big things in my life. I still play whenever I get the chance. Hockey has been just about as important to me as my work with wolves. And they go together, really. I've always been a real competitive type and one of the things about hockey is you've got to be very competitive. Sort of like in the wolf business, where there are a lot of strong feelings. The fight is a big part of it.

•Outsiders is a weekly profile in the Juneau Empire's Outdoors section.

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