Woman's dog has run-in with wolves on South Fork of the Boise, survives!

This is a good article because for once it makes clear the wolves were interested in the dog, not the person.

I’m amazed that a small dog could chase a wolf and survive.

Story by Jason Kaufman in the Idaho Mountain Express.

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  1. elkhunter Avatar

    So if I am hunting pine hens with my pointing dogs, and a pack of wolves comes after them, can I shoot the wolves to protect my dog?

  2. Mikeh Avatar

    Amazing how these stories always start with “so and so was out walking near their remote cabin……”

  3. Eric Avatar

    is there any other way to protect your dogs if that hypothetical situation happens? Maybe firing your ‘gun’ in the general direction of said wolves or someting? You know what will happen in general. Why borrow trouble?

  4. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Just a small remark: If you go to the page of the Idaho Mountain Express and scroll down a little bit you´ll come to the links to “recently commented articles”. There you´ll find a link to a posting dated July 22nd “Wolf pack [denning] confirmed in northern valley. Quite interesting.

    I did post a story on this new wolf pack about 5 days ago. In case someone missed it, you can find it at:

    Wolf pack confirmed to be living in the headwaters of the Wood River

    Ralph Maughan

  5. elkhunter Avatar

    I know that Eric, I am just wondering if its against the law for me to do that, I was just wondering becasue I read an article about a mans bear hounds that were attacked and killed, and that the wolves actually grabbed the dog out of his hands and killed it. So I was just wondering if they got that close to me, would the law be with me or against me?

  6. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    Against you. There are no provisions for protecting dogs against wolves in the wild.

  7. SAP Avatar

    elkhunter – get yourself a border collie — apparently it’s legal to shoot a wolf to protect a herding dog. 😉

    However, I think the herding dog has to be “on the job,” he can’t just be out for a walk.

    If you keep your dogs close while you hunt, maybe one of those ultra-sonic dog repellent devices would come in handy. They have about a 50′ range — don’t know for sure that they work on wolves, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

  8. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    BTW if you believe that story about the wolf grabbing the dog from the guys arms I got some nice swamp land I’d like to talk to you about buying.

  9. Moose Avatar

    As above…I’m not calling BS on the wolf ‘grabbing dog from owner’s hand’ scenario, but I would like to see some documentation from a reasonable source.

  10. elkhunter Avatar

    Well I have read stories in MN about wolves killing dogs off of peoples leashes. I was just curious cause obviously if they attacked my dogs, my dogs would run immediately to me, which in turn the wolves would be following. Just how close they would come would make me a little nervous, I was just wonderin though, what the consequences would be, I guess you would have to be able to prove you felt your life was in danger.

  11. elkhunter Avatar

    I wonder if I could train a collie to hunt birds! 🙂

  12. SAP Avatar

    I have heard many conflicting stories about the hounds-wolves incident. As a matter of plausibility, though, it coulda happened . . . have you ever tried to break up a dogfight?

    Someone with more command of the facts and legal reasoning should weigh in here, but it is clear that you can kill a wolf in defense of your own life or of another human.

    What’s not clear to me is this: if you wade into the middle of a dog-wolf scrap to save ol’ Shep, and then feel like you’re in danger yourself, can you then kill the threatening wolf?

    The Shuler case seems to demonstrate that you could: Dupuyer, MT, 1989: rancher tries to run some grizzlies out of his sheep corral, ends up getting charged, kills bear.

    I’ll gloss the particulars here (ie, supposedly his first statements indicated that he shot the bears while they ran away), but my recollection is that Shuler initially lost his case because the courts maintained that he could have chosen not to insert himself in the situation, and therefore would not have needed to defend his own life.

    On appeal, higher courts rejected that reasoning. I don’t have time to dig into the case law, but the higher courts apparently felt Shuler was justified in trying to run the bears out of his sheep, and that he was therefore fully in the right in killing the bear in defense of his own life.

    Of course, grizzlies do pose substantially more risk to people than do wolves, but one could imagine similar scenarios unfolding and people using “defense of life” as justification for killing a wolf.

  13. SAP Avatar

    elkunter: you can get a good cheap copy of Ray Coppinger’s excellent book, “Dogs” used on Amazon.

    Coppinger was an early researcher into livestock guarding dogs. His book really opened my eyes about canid behavior . . . very worthwhile book. He mentions in there about a guy training a border collie to point quail — you can train many different breeds to do many different things, but the “specialists” will always outshine them.

    PS: I don’t want to encourage anyone to kill grizzlies or wolves unnecessarily, but federal authorities have given people a lot of latitude on the matter of whether they felt their lives were in danger in a lot of grizzly shootings.

    In fact, can anyone name a case from the lower 48 where authorities rejected a defense-of-life claim?

  14. elkhunter Avatar

    Ya thats something that would be hard to overthrow, I get nervous when I call a little coyote in a little to close. I cant imagine what I would be thinking if my pointer came haulin ass back with some wolves on his heels and ran right to me. Whatever happened would happen fast I imagine, they would prob hesitate once they saw a human you would think, but if they did come charging in, then I would probably start shooting. Matters how close they were I guess, if they stood 30-40 yards away I would not feel to threatened, but if they were way close, 10-30 feet then I think I would be a little bit more nervous, just hope I am never in that situation for sure.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan