What really happened was probably a matter of interpretation. The hunters were not injured or even touched-

Story on the close encounter. Helena Independent Record. By Eve Byron.

“The idea of them charging people — I’ve never heard of that,” Bangs said on Tuesday. “But that doesn’t mean this guy doesn’t think he was charged. The whole threat may not be real, but I’m sure his fear was real.”

I suspect what happened was similar to this story with photos reported to me (with photos) several years ago. It’s amazing how your preconceptions can complete the story in your head to explain an ambiguous situation.

Yellowstone wolf pack encircles two photographers . . . . .”wild and beautiful.” Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News.  Nov. 28, 2006

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

40 Responses to Montana hunters say they had a close encounter with wolves

  1. avatar Salle says:

    I read that article earlier today and felt that the reporter did little to investigate whether this was actually a dangerous encounter. It seems that the only incentive to report this story was fan the flames of confusion and fear based on non-information. Just talking to FW&P folks on the phone was not sufficient to present a balanced set of facts.

    It’s really sad that the media are only interested in sensationalizing the fear factor rather than make an effort to present real info for people to understand.

    I also read some of the comments below the story and was glad to see that there were some voices of reason but most of the comments were the same old misinformation and fearmongering.

    Thanks for posting the photographers’ story for balance.

  2. avatar John d. says:

    “The wolf was reported to have approached within 19 yards, growled and pinned its ears back”
    That’s fear….

    It sounds like more romanticised horror.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    John d.

    Indeed, Dr. Paul Pacquet, from Canada, investigated the Carnegie death in northern Alberta where the authorities insisted that he was killed by wolves and still holds that it was either a bear or maybe he was wounded and finished off by the bear.

    He showed photos at a presentation, last spring, showing the body language of a wolf that was alleged to be in attack mode but was actually in a defense stance, it had its ears down and tail between its legs… the human in the photo was brandishing a big stick and approaching the wolf.

    If you take and hold a big stick or even a newspaper up to any canid, like you were going to strike it, it will assume that stance and even bare its teeth as a warning that it is afraid…

  4. avatar Mike Post says:

    Unfortunately, this conversation is just like one about religion. You believe what you believe. In my experience every wolf, mountian lion, and brown bear I ever met was thrilled to death to get away from me. (Of course, I tried not to imitate prey behavior at the time…)

  5. avatar Save bears says:

    Salle Said:

    “If you take and hold a big stick or even a newspaper up to any canid, like you were going to strike it, it will assume that stance and even bare its teeth as a warning that it is afraid…”

    I don’t believe this Salle, I have seen canids that don’t take a defensive stance(fear) but offensive stance when confronted in this manner, in other words they have moved into attack mode…as a biologist, I can say, there are still many things we don’t know to actually differentiate between defensive or offensive(attack) behavior..

    We really don’t know when they are defending as opposed to attacking…

  6. avatar Jeff says:

    I had an encounter with the Teton Pack years ago. I was stalked from a distance of over 400 yards down to about 100 yards. Everytime I faced the wolf it froze in a crouched position and it had its ears back and tail down. When I turned my back it hustled towards me. Due to the wind it couldn’t scent me. At 100 yards after numerous hat waves and “yahs” I finally shot in the wolf’s direction and it immediately left the area with the rest of the pack in tow. My fear was real when I could clearly see with my naked eyes that it was totally fixed on me in full blown stalking mode. I’ve had an encounter with a mountain lion on foot and there is something primordial about having a large predator stare at you in open country, at short distance, on foot.

  7. avatar TC says:

    Interesting opinion piece in The Wildlife Professional (published by TWS) this month written by Val Geist on this very subject – no doubt going to ruffle a few feathers. You should all read it if this subject interests you…

  8. Mike Post,

    I don’t really think this is like religion. I think it’s like some people come from a culture that puts fear into them (well religion can do that too).

    Wolves are but a tiny threat.

    For 13 years now we have been hearing stories about close encounters with wolves — how the wolf just about got someone.

    But, where is the severed arm? Where is that wolf really at someone’s throat? Where is the person eaten by wolves?

    This is the same forum where we talk about grizzly maulings as a plain matter of fact, . . . and they are real.

    I don’t doubt that the Teton wolves thought you were maybe prey while they couldn’t get your scent, Jeff. It gives you a bit of pause, but almost everyday I get email from some hunter (always a hunter) who says a wolf was after him. Somehow, however, the wolf never gets the hunter.

    People in Yellowstone Park watching wolves (which I think do pose a slight danger because they are so familiar with people) never report these things.

    This is culture, not the real world.

  9. avatar John d. says:

    Actually I heard a story of a person losing the lower half of their leg 15 years ago in Idaho due to an infected bite wound from a wolf. Now where’s the flaw in that one?

  10. John d.

    No wolves in Idaho 15 years ago. They were reintroduced in 1995-6

  11. avatar Save bears says:

    Ralph,

    I would not dismiss quite so quick as the wolves in Northern Idaho are naturally populating wolves and may have been there 15 years ago, I would be interested in seeing a credible report on this John d. Can you provide a location for this story you heard?

  12. avatar John d. says:

    Actually it was a comment I found on a wolf-dog hybrid photo.

    http://superpower-pnut.deviantart.com/art/I-m-A-Friendly-Fella-43279842?offset=10#comments

    Comment by D19leader, page 2

    “I was attacked by a wolf when i was three and i have a prosthetic leg now because of it…..i don’t like wolves or wolf dogs…”
    “Idaho….In sun valley theres alot of them, we’ve since moved.”
    This user is 18 years of age.

  13. avatar Save bears says:

    Thanks John,

    Wolf dogs statement explains quite a bit, I have encountered quite a lot of people that have been attacked by hybrids or dogs that mistake them for wolves..

    Unfortunately, many people blend hybrids and wolves into the same category, which is very far from the truth. Your taking the genetic make up of two different species and blending, which will produce results that are not predictable…

    I have also encountered Beefalo that are not predictable, some are mild mannered and some are just down right mean, when cross breeding, you really have no predictable outcome until your many generations into the hybridization process and by that time, based on my studies, you have moved into the area of a new species..

    I am sure this individual had a very traumatic and life changing experience, but from a research prospective, it doe not have much value.

    Thanks for the link.

  14. I figured if there was anything to it, it would be a dog or a hybrid.

    I’m not in favor of wolf hybrids. People should not buy one and certainly not breed them.

    They tend to be familiar like the dog, but they have unpredictable emotional states.

  15. avatar Save bears says:

    Ralph,

    There have been many breeds of canids that have been hybridized and they are very unpredictable for many generations, I did a lot of work in this are during my studies and worked with Golden Retrievers, which are now considered one of the best breeds around, but the history of them was not so, for quite a few generations they were very unpredictable and were known to be very vicious..

    The Pit Bull is another example of a canid that has been hybridized and right now we are reaping the rewards of bad breeding in many cases, you might get one that is as gentle as can be, but very unpredictable and has proven this many times over the last couple of decades..

    When you start playing with genetics, you might not like what you get..

  16. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    It´s amazing how often the hunters, armed to the teeth, full of self confidence, determined to kill something, are also the first to….(oh, now I have to consult a translation tool) is it really “shit a brick [vulg]” ?

  17. avatar John d. says:

    Big bad wolf needs to be bad for them to justify killing it to defend home and hearth.

  18. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Cindy and Dan Hartman have the following news on their website:
    12-09-08 A grizzly charged a hiker up the road to Tower last weekend.
    Anybody around with some more details?

  19. avatar Laura says:

    Peter,
    I do not have any additional details on the hiker being charged on Tower but I will tell you I hiked up the same road the week of Thanksgiving. I was by myself and when the trees seemed to come in much closer to the road past Rainy Lake (reducing my ability to see much around and ahead of me) I turned around and headed back. A ranger came driving up the road (he was checking on the wolf researchers he had opened the gate for previously in the day). He asked if I had bear spray and I said I did not and that was why I headed back. I later learned from the researchers they had seen some pretty large grizzly tracks in the snow further up Tower road. I also saw that posting on the Hartman site and am curious about details.

  20. avatar vickif says:

    Salle and Save Bears,

    Reading a canid’s body language has been studied for years. Linda Hunter often posts about bear body language, and a lot of other folks see bear behavior as pretty predictable.

    Let me weigh in. I mean neither of you any offense, so please let me just say, my opinion is based on personal experience.

    My eighty year old grandfather began raising greyhounds in this country when he was a young boy. My family has been raising dogs in America ever since, and before that in other countries. I can tell you honestly that I have been around dogs, by the thousands, my entire life, as very small children we were put into pens with puppies to condition them to people. I have handled, studied and observed dogs (not wolves) more so than anyone either of you probably knows, (I could be wrong). I have been training dogs, of various breeds, since I was a youngster. My cousin does it for a living competitively with the AKC circuit, various breeds. My family still raises a few greyhounds (maybe a thousand or two).

    Having said that, greyhounds are no wolves, but they are primarily a hunting breed. Having been raised to hunt rabbits for pharoas centuries ago, they have adapted themselves (with some help through selective breeding by man) for hunting. So have wolves.

    Wolves have a larger pack mentality, but their behavior toward prey and agressor is pretty similar from what I have seen and read. There is a difference in their behavior when they are on the offensive as opposed to defensive. As with any animal, when you make it feel defesive they react with fight or flight behavior (hey-so do we).

    So, if the wolf is initially defensive and thinks fight, instead of flight when it’s fear increases, that behavior will change in an heart beat. But not because it wants to eat you, more because it instinctiveley will defend it’s life when threatened.

    These hunters, and all hunters, should learn to deal with the possibility of seeing wolves or encountering them up close and personal-just as they should with bears.

    Though folk lure and fable, and many uneducated groups (some hunters, ranchers, and a lot of New Mexico loonies) would have us believe wolves attack and hunt people, it is an extremely minute possibility. However, they are wild animals, and as with any wild animal, they should be treated with the respect and caution…and a hell of a lot more understanding.

    I expect that , Like Peter above suggests, the macho flushed right out of these guys when confronted with an animal that they believed mught fight back. If wolves become more populous in areas where American hunters roam, we will hear more and more of these stories. Just as we do with bear encounters, we will have to weigh the actual evidence and facts, then asses the truth of the matter.

    (On an aside, like ranching, the days of raising greyhounds, a tradition that predates cattle ranching, is fading fast….However, you won’t hear of welfare programs for greyhound breeders. Hmmmnn, I guess you can survive the changing of times.)

  21. avatar Salle says:

    I thought about the possibility of hybrids when I read the article too. Beth Dunham, whom I met years ago, has done some great work studying wolf hybrids. Her take on them was very much like what Save Bears was talking about, I would give some heed to that possibility.

    I am also skeptical about Valerius Geist’s claims on wolf/human attacks. He was one of the investigators who helped the government of Alberta in their quest to make wolves the culprit in the Carnegie death case. According to other investigator(s), there was a large amount of evidence disputing that claim and pointing more toward bear mauling instead. The body of Carnegie was left by his so-called colleagues, for hours after they found him, (they didn’t check to see if he was still alive at the time they first discovered him in the woods), then went back later to find his body had been moved and partially devoured. According to another researcher/expert, the parts devoured were consistent with bear activity rather than that of wolves. Wolves eat organs first, bears will peel the flesh off first. Carnegie’s organs were still there but his flesh had been substantially peeled. I saw some of the photos.

    In the past I have cited Geist’s work on bison in the US but I am wary of his claims about wolf/human attack.

    As for the hunters, like Ed Bangs said, it was very unlikely that the wolves were attacking. They were probably investigating the unfamiliar animals they happened upon but then took off when they saw that they weren’t a familiar food source. So they whisked by them at close range, perhaps that was a kind of warning to the intruders rather than a predatory action. They did leave the scene after all.

  22. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    Salle says: “Indeed, Dr. Paul Pacquet, from Canada, investigated the Carnegie death in northern Alberta where the authorities insisted that he was killed by wolves and still holds that it was either a bear or maybe he was wounded and finished off by the bear.”
    However, this death was officially ruled a wolf kill–after much consultation with many carnivore biologists.

  23. avatar Salle says:

    Yes, however, when you understand the process and development of the investigation and the manner in which they came to that conclusion, it’s hard to believe that there was not bias injected into the conclusions made by authorities concerning that case.

    I know Dr. Pacquet and have great respect for his knowledge of predators in general, in fact, it’s hard to find another biologist with his expertise concerning predators and their behaviors. From his presentation of the evidence, including the officials’ processes and the evidence he studied that was overlooked by Geist and others, it’s hard not to question their conclusions, I mean seriously question their conclusions. The others in the audience didn’t feel the investigations of the authorities were handled properly either, and there were many wolf and bear biologists present. It would be hard to prove that wolves were the culprit in this case regardless of the “official” conclusion.

  24. avatar JD says:

    In June of 2006, a group of us (5) hiked up to the original Rose Creek pen. From there we continued on up (heading to the top of Frederick Peak) to a large meadow. While stopping to take a water break, we saw off to our left (maybe 100 yards) 3 wolves sitting in the shade under a small group of pine trees, watching us…. Before we could drop our packs and grab cameras, they (as Ed Bangs would say) were ‘hauling ass’ over the ridge. When we continued up and to the north of that ridge, looking back down on the meadow, a large grizzly was walking pretty close to where we had taken that water break….With a group of 5, this behavior is what I’d expect. It would have been interesting to see if the behavior of both the wolves and the lone griz would be different if there was only one person or maybe two….IMO it wouldn’t have mattered.

  25. avatar vickif says:

    Salle,

    You are a power house! I’d love for you to write a book! I don’t know which group you are aligned with, but if you see fit to let me know, I’d be interested.

  26. avatar Salle says:

    Vickif,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!! I’d love to write a book. Actually, I have asked a very prolific author to help me with my biography but it would be so huge hat it could easily be mistaken for and entire encyclopedic series… I’ve imagined that it could be titled, “The Adventures of Salle” Volumes 1-?… ; >

    I joke about it a lot, I have burned through more diverse career selections than most folks in I know of my age group. Ralph can validate that statement!

    I have actually thought about it before, not just my life story… I am quite the “political animal” always have been. I’m also a terrible cynic, perhaps because I have been paying attention since Eisenhower was in office.

    Several of my friends and colleagues, over the years, have made me promise to write books. Maybe it’s time to get going on that since I seem to be at an impasse lately.

  27. avatar Salle says:

    Yikes, I got my sentences out of order! It’s early!

  28. Concerning the presentation from Dr. Pacquet that Salle refers to, I think he provided ample photographic evidence of animal tracks indicating that Dr. Geist made a number of identification mistakes.

    I also want to reemphasize one point Salle referred to — the failure of the authorities to examine the body of the dead man for a long period also caused some members of the audience to believe that there was an effort to try to gain time for scavengers to have access to the body. This could well have been to erase evidence of foul play.

  29. avatar Truth says:

    You have to realize, the wolf may have been scared and never actually attacked but that doesn’t automatically make the hunter ‘evil’ or a ‘wolf hater.’ Most people have never seen a wolf or know nothing about wolf behavior, so to them they thought they were in danger, and if a person believes he is danger than can act on self defense. The killing of that wolf was justified. It was purely a misunderstanding. Nothing can be done now.

  30. avatar Truth says:

    Whats funny is I personally know the teen, John Wieferich, in the article…that kid is a jerk.

  31. avatar Salle says:

    Truth,

    “The killing of that wolf was justified. It was purely a misunderstanding. Nothing can be done now.”

    They didn’t kill the wolves, according to the account in the paper. Perhaps you missed that part.

  32. avatar Truth says:

    I was refering to something else. But since you brought it up, I’ll rephrase. “if” they had killed the wolves it would have been justified.

  33. avatar Salle says:

    Not really. They, at least one of them, being an experienced hunter, should have been aware of the other animals that would or could have been present in the area. He seemed to be aware of the cougar and bear that were near-by. Ignorance is no excuse, it’s an argument used in most court cases.

  34. avatar Jay says:

    You’re in more danger on the drive to the woods than you are when you’re actually out there. That said, virtually EVERY wild animal has the potential to be dangerous to humans, including wolves. I find it somewhat condescending that Ed Bangs would write off the person’s account as misunderstanding the wolves’ intentions, when he wasn’t there to see it. Someday, under the right circumstances, someone will be attacked and injured or killed by a wolf or wolves (I’d guess most likely Y-stone), which isn’t to say wolves are something you should worry about, but they are wild animals with the potential to be dangerous. Maybe these wolves really were acting aggessively? So what? 99.9% of the rest of the encounters are benign events, so lets allow for the fact that it is possible for wolves to display aggression towards people.

  35. avatar Layton says:

    Wow — It’s interesting how things stack up here.

    First, Ralph’s comment “No wolves in Idaho 15 years ago. They were reintroduced in 1995-6”

    When I first started coming to this blog, coincidentally enough, as the result of being called a liar about an incident I had with a pack of 9 wolves, I cited an incident that occurred in Bear Valley in aprox. 1980 where several wolves were killed and an Ontario, Oregon taxidermist and a couple of hunters that “did the deed” were prosecuted for killing and endangered species — at that time Ralph remembered the incident — how come now it slips the mind??

    The other comments that interest me are the ones (all of them?) that assume all the folks that have contact with wolves acting aggressively are out and out lying!! Does someone REALLY have to get killed to convince you folks that this really does happen??

    Then when it does — like the incident in Canada — EVEN WHEN IT GOES TO COURT — it’s always someone lying. Seems like the deck is flat stacked!!

    And yes Peter K., if it happens to you, you will come as close as humanly possible to “shitting a brick”!! At least you will become suddenly and dramatically aware of what the expression really means!!

  36. Layton,

    Last night I was answering a question about whether someone had been injured by a wild wolf in Idaho back before they were reintroduced, and it turns out it was a hybrid of some kind.

    Now whether there were absolutely no wolves in Idaho before the reintroduction is an interesting question about which I have probably written 10,000 words over time.

    You should know by answer by heart by now, Layton.

    There clearly were scattered wolves from time to time inside Idaho during the decade or even two before reintroduction. There might have even been enough once and a while to form a pack.

    At the time of reintroduction, it was later learned that a minimum of 3 lone male wolves were in the state. This was discovered because these 3 each located reintroduced females and founded the Kelly Creek Pack, the White Clouds Pack, and the Thunder Mountain Pack.

    These occasional wolves never reached the “critical mass” to begin a sustained recovery on their own. That is good because such an recovery would have been slow, very painful in terms of ESA regulations, and the resulting wolves inbred due to a small number of founders.

  37. ….next time when caught unarmed in the middle of a herd of wild boar an scared to death I must not forget to call the press afterwards with wet pants and a nice story of my heroism. But I´m sure my daughters would then deny they had ever known me :-))

  38. avatar JEFF E says:

    Peter,
    the wild boar over there can be pretty nasty. Any info on human injury just for a comparison/contrast?

  39. Hi Jeff E,
    no reliable statistics just what I got from the news and a lot of “campfire stories”from all around Europe. But in the past years wild boar/human (car accident) conflicts have multiplied. In the last month only we had three death motorbike and car drivers just in the area where I communicate to work daily. My only enounter whas the one I mentiond above and that was also close to my home town. Surprisingly I have yet to meet them in the woods of Italy, France or Spain, where there are rumours of some really nasty examples.

  40. avatar David Habel says:

    Date of this detailed report: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
    Note: I arrived back to SC November 6, 2008
    Montana Fish & Game Contact Person:

    Carolyn Sime
    Montana Fish & Game Wolf Coordinator
    Office: 406-444-3242
    Cell: 406-461-0587
    Fax: 406-444-4952

    Govt. Agencies contacted and Wolf Attack Incident Reported: Lewis & Clark County Sheriff
    Office (406) 447-8235/8293
    Fax: (406) 442-4873
    Montana Fish & Game Department

    Victims of Wolf Pack’s “False Charge”: David H Habel, age 67, armed with 30-06
    419 Riverwalk Way
    Irmo, South Carolina 29063
    Home: 803-407-8725
    Cell: 803-466-1970
    Born and raised in Vaughn, Great Falls, Montana

    John Wieferich, age 15, armed with 270
    East Helena
    406-227-5098

    Other Fellow Hunters in the area at the time: Bob Taylor – Irmo, South Carolina
    Mike Wieferich – East Helena, Montana
    Jake Wieferich – East Helena, Montana
    Dave Wiltrout — Helena, Montana
    Addresses, phone numbers upon request

    Landowner with access to Helena National Forest: Dave Wiltrout
    1397 Landmark
    Helena, MT 59601-9723
    406-558-9633

    Exact Date of Wolf Pack attack November 1, 2008 at 6:45 PM (dark)

    On a recent Montana Elk hunting trip, using a friend’s land to access the Helena National Forest, I had an encounter with wolves that was most frightening. I was with Bob Taylor, a long time friend from South Carolina, Dave Wiltrout and Mike Wiferich and his twin sons, John and Jake. We had hunted in teams until dark on this particular day. John Wiferich and I were making our departure from a large meadow on the other side of the mountain, traveling through the dark forest on our way to reach our 4 wheel drive vehicles.

    Though we had lights with us, we decided not to use them with the thought that we could possibly locate elk for the next day’s hunt. While on the game trail we heard something immediately on our left hand side. We looked but were unable to see anything. Being unable to determine what it was exactly, we knew that there were several animals by the sound of the crackling twigs and leaves. We stood still, and the crackling twig sounds went silent. Being unable to see or hear anything we continued on our journey to the vehicles being quiet and on guard with every step.

    After traveling another 100 yards down the steep slope of the game trail we were on, a dark shadow was approaching us coming up the trail directly in front of us. John had a split second spine shot, but didn’t take it because he thought it might have been the black bear seen earlier in the day. As we stood in wonder of what animal it could be, we heard the sounds of heavy sniffing from at least 3 or 4 of the wolves, as they tried to determine their prey. The sniffing increased and rippled throughout the pack of animals. A light grey animal appeared on my right, above the trail. We then realized that this pack had circled us and we were dumbfounded by their confrontational conduct.

    No sooner had we realized what was hunting us, than this pack of wolves exploded and began to charge us, and all Hell broke loose. We saw at least two rushing us from in front. They were barking and snarling, showing their razor sharp teeth. This was a situation to which no positive outcome seemed eminent. I didn’t have a clear shot because of John being directly in front of me, and it was dark. I knew firing my gun might jeopardize John, because he was right at end of the barrel. I saw the light grey wolf bearing right at me from above. I instinctively raised my gun vertically, fully expecting him to jump me from where he was. If he leaped, I was hoping he would hit my gun, then I would use the butt of the rifle on him. With no other options we stood our ground, while the two main wolves came closer and closer, louder and more vicious. Then they suddenly darted off to the sides, passing us on each side, to our left and to my right. They ran right past us, while we feared the worse yet to occur, with the wolves in place behind them.

    Following this incident, we learned that this was a wolf “False Charge” that the pack did on us. To us there was nothing false about it. If we would have run we would have had the pack behind the lead wolves that were waiting for us to run, ready to bring down their prey, as we observed earlier near Park Lake.

    David H. Habel
    John Weiferich

    Additional Concerned Comments:

    We were hunting days earlier in another area near Park Lake and some other pack of wolves were chasing some animal, and they sounded furious, and kept getting louder and closer. We were expecting them to break out right where we were hunting but they caught whatever it was they were hunting about 100 yards away from us and they never came into the clearing. Our guns were pointed in their direction, while they were coming our way, too close for comfort.

    What would have happened if; in John and myself’s situation listed above, if they had approached a jogger, or a hiking family?

    An un-named Helena Forest Service employee stated that there are more than 400+ wolves just between Helena and Deerlodge, Montana. Why isn’t this information made public? What is the Forest Service doing to reduce the wolf overpopulation and danger?

    David H. Habel lives at 6,200’ on the highest mountain in the area, 3.5 miles past Rimini, MT, Red Mountain 8,000’. George Nielsen, a neighbor, has observed the wolf pack leader, a female, that resides at the top of Red Mountain, take her whelps and show them how to cut the hamstrings on 6 elk, just for them to learn how to do it. At the time of the observation, the female just left the elk disabled on their rears. He did not observe that they came back to finish the elk off.

    You are welcome to check all persons and
    This Third page of documentation has been added on Monday, November 17, 2008, sent to KTVH

    Site provided by Carolyn Sime: Montana Wolf Web Site
    FWPMT.GOV
    Fish & Wildlife Dept
    Montana Wolf
    Quick Facts

    Ed Bangs, Federal Official
    US Fish & Wildlife
    Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator
    406-449-5225, Ext 204
    ed_bangs@FWS.gov

    Additonal Comments:

    #1. This specific wolf attack occurred about 6 miles from downtown Helena, within several city blocks of
    inhabited areas.

    #2. “FALSE CHARGE” This is a term used by wolf experts. The Wolves viciously attack or look like they are going to attack. If you stand up against them, as we did, they then dissipate. However, if you attempt to run away, then the leaders and the rest of the pack join in the pursuit of the prey. To John and I, there is nothing false about the attack, they have definite reasons and purpose for their actions.

    #3. There is also a “Lobo” large lone wolf in the vicinity of my cabin. No one has seen it. It is a large animal and
    has never been seen except for its tracks. It used the underside of the vacant cabin next to mine last winter.

    #4. Carolyn Sime is of the opinion that all three of my listed wolf pack incidents are just one wolf pack. I do not
    buy that theory, and believe that these incidents are all separate packs.

    #5. I had no opinion on wolves before the November 1st attack. I am now a proponent of delisting the Gray Wolf,
    listing the Gray Wolf for what it actually is: A Dangerous Predator. They need to be hunted and their numbers controlled in the state of Montana, and other states.

    Ed Bangs – Please enter this 3 page document as evidence for delisting the Gray Wolf, and declaring it a
    A Dangerous Predator.

    Thank you,

    David H. Habel

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    From : David Habel

    To : ed_bangs@fws.gov

    Cc : news12@ktvh.com

    Subject : Addendum to Wolf Attack Report of Nov 1, 2008

    Date : Tue, Nov 18, 2008 11:37 AM

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    November Dear Mr. Banks:

    An additional thought came to me as I was awake last night remembering the wolf attack of Saturday, November 1st.

    Those wolves made a GREAT effort in circling around us to be able to attack us from the front as we were going down the mountain game trail.

    They did this because in just a short time we would have been back in civilization, thus they figured on chasing us (if their “False Charge” attack worked); back up the mountain to be in their own territory.

    The pure audacity of their unprovoked attack on hunters with guns and wearing hunter orange still disturbs me.

    Please share this specific email with Carolyn Simes, Montana Stake Wolf Coordinator, and include it with the report on delisting the gray wolf.

    Thanks,

    David H Habel
    803-407-8725

    January 10, 2009
    Irmo, South Carolina

    Here is a copy of the Wolf Encounter article as I received it in the mail from a 75 year old cowboy friend of mine, Dick Wall, as I promised to send you.

    The reason I am fighting the environmentalist groups, (who, by the way have plenty of money and people) is this:

    The wolf that they have re-established is not the wolf as was years ago, it is an
    aberration that does not have the same character, but is now dangerous. They have had too much human involvement in the re-establishment, breeding, etc. It is not the pristine wolf of early days.

    These wolves circled us in a wide pattern so that we could not detect their actions until they cut us off from civilization, and confronted us. Both of us were armed and had hunter orange, which meant nothing to them.

    If we had yelled, turned on a light, shot a gun in the air or anything, we
    would not have had the experience we encountered. I am glad we didn’t, two of us now know their true character, and it is not good for humans or prey.

    On the wolves “false charge”, who would know to stand your ground, and not run, without our published report?

    The reason they have so many deer with in Helena city limits is because the wolves have run them out of the mountains. It has increased accidents, local hunting seasons have been increased, but the real reason is the rampaging wide spread wolves. There isn’t anything they can’t bring down, and they are not eating what they kill, but are out for the thrill of the hunt, and they are roaming widespread and not hindered by anything.

    Ed Bangs confidentially told me that our documented encounter report, and the subsequent Helena 12/11/2008 newspaper headline will place the grey wolves off the endangered species list, but I will have to wait and see what really takes place.

    I have dealt with a lot of people, federal, state and environmentalist groups and taken a lot of flack from environmentalists on this issue, but I am not backing down.

    On Friday, January 9th, 2009, I was contacted by a Mr. Mark Kelly, a journalism teacher from Boulder, MT, who will in detail, case study our encounter, and publish a report starting this Wednesday. It could be another environmental effort.

    Yours

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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