Wolves might have killed Alaskan teacher

This might be the second wolf-caused death in North America in the last hundred or so years-

There were a lot of breathless stories about this yesterday, but the one below seems to be more current and complete.

Wolves may have killed village teacher. Chignik: Police unsure whether death happened before, after bite. By James Halpin. The News Tribune.

Wolf attacks are very rare. They seem to be the safest of all the large carnivores and maybe omnivores too, to humans. In 2005, it was decided the preponderance of evidence was that wolves caused another death in Canada — Kenton Carnegie. We discussed that for a long time.

New. 3/13/ Wolves kill teacher in Alaska. LA Times. By Kim Murphy.

3/20. The final news is that only two wolves could be found in the area. They were shot. They seem to be the wolves that likely attacked and killed her. They were in poor condition. Test shows they were not rabid. At the time of the attack the woman’s hearing was impaired by use of an Ipod. Her parents saw her as strong, independent outdoors person, and seemed to regard a wolf attack as a natural danger of the outdoors, which to their great sadness, led to her death. News reports seem to show the way it happened has not led them to any animosity toward wolves as a species.





  1. JimT Avatar

    Oh crap, now we will have to endure the inevitable hysteria about pets and children and godless creatures preying upon poor humans, and the need to kill more of them. Rational thinking will take a back seat for awhile…

  2. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    Not saying you are wrong, but did you happen to read the whole story, including the information about 80 human wolf incidents, half of which were wolves showing aggressive behavior? In addition to the information about various people that have been attacked in Alaska?

    And don’t take this as I am saying there is a big risk of someone being attacked, but there is information and facts that show, wolves do attack humans at times..

  3. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar

    They were not even sure what was the actual cause of death yet. I would have thouht that they would have waited until the results of the autopsy before saying anything.

  4. Elk275 Avatar

    Rita, Why would they wait for the autopsy results before saying anything? Every time that there is a suspicious death, regardless of the cause, the authorities always say that they are waiting for the results of the autopsy. If the cause of death was something else then the case is closed, but if it is wolf predation then this will be the second case of wolves killing a human. Some people just think that wolves can do no wrong.

    1. mike Avatar

      Perhaps it’ may be the 2nd case for N America, but not for the rest of the world, especially Eastern Europe.

      Wolves eat young man in Kakheti Region

      See also
      Wolves scratch local in Tsnori, Kakheti Region

  5. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    I believe JimT was referring to the hype vs the reality. There is a relatively low level of aggressive wolf-human interactions compared to other animals wild and domestic. As has been said before on this blog all wild animals should be considered dangerous (as well as many domesticated animals).

  6. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I am well aware of what Jim was saying..

  7. Bob Fanning Avatar
    Bob Fanning

    State Troopers told Berner’s employer, Lake & Peninsula School District, they are “99 percent sure” wolves killed her.

    Berner worked as a Special Education teacher for the Lake & Peninsula School District. Based in Perryville, Berner traveled from village to village teaching within the district. She was in Chignik Lake to help teach the 23 students there when she was killed.


  8. jon Avatar

    80 attacks is not really a lot considering wolves can be dangerous predators

  9. jon Avatar

    Elk, who said wolves can do no wrong? They can be dangerous predators. Even if they did kill this woman, it wasn’t their fault. They are wild animals and people should understand that. 80 wolf attacks over however many years is not very many. If they were truly a threat to us, there would be many more documented attacks. Every now and then wild animals and humans will clash and sometimes it doesn’t turn out pretty.

  10. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    80 attacks may not be a lot in the whole scope of things, but based on other animal species, it is a pretty significant statistic…and no, I am not on the hysterical side, I know for a fact when your around wild animals, people do get attacked…

  11. jon Avatar

    Not really save bears, other animal species in the world kill far more people than wolves. You kind of have to expect sooner or later, something like this is gonna happen. Do you think wolves will never ever attack a human? These kind of things are rare, but they happen every now and then.

  12. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    No I never thought it would not happen, I knew it was going to happen, I have no problem with it happening, just as I don’t with bears, I am sorry for the families loss, but, after my work in the field with wild animals, it is a pretty significant statistic, even if wolf supporters want to diminish it…

    I know for a fact wild animals attack and kill humans, I also know domestic dogs kill far more humans than wolves, bears or any other species…I think trying to make light of a suspected death by a wolf is not the proper way to go, just as I disagree with the anti’s running around in fear for their children and pushing forth their hysteria saying wolves are far to dangerous…

  13. jon Avatar

    Yes, I know that as well. How can anyone think otherwise? I love wolves as much as the next person, but they can be dangerous when they want to be. One must remember they are wild predatory animals. They aren’t cuddly dogs you can pet. Just like the thing that happened at sea world, you cannot take the wild out of these wild predatory animals and once must always remember a wild animal is a wild animal and a wild animal can become dangerous at any given moment. With that said, if this was a wolf attack, I don’t put the blame on the wolves. They are wild animals. Unfortunate incident.

  14. jon Avatar

    80 attacks is pretty low compared to other animals that have attacked and killed people. As I said, these clashes are going to happen every now and then. It’s inevitable in this day in age where many humans are living in the world and animals are losing their habitat and food to us.

  15. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I don’t think there is any blame to lay on either side…not without more information…

  16. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    See that is where you and I disagree, I think based on experience, that 80 is a pretty significant statistic…

  17. jon Avatar

    Given all of the hysteria and propaganda being thrown out there by people who don’t like wolves, you think 80 is a high # save bears? The way some of these people talk about how dangerous wolves are, you would think there would be thousands and thousands of documented fatal wolf attacks on humans. There are far more dangerous animals than wolves in the world who are responsible for many more fatal attacks on humans.

  18. Maska Avatar

    Just for a little perspective you might want to read McNay’s actual report, which is available from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. The study covers incidents in Alaska and Canada from 1900 until 2002. There are 80 incidents in all, not 80 attacks.

    Many of the incidents are non-agressive encounters such as investigative searches, investigative approaches, and incidents of self-defense on the part of the wolf. Thirty-nine cases had elements of aggressive behavior, 12 cases involved rabid wolves, and 29 cases involved fearless behavior in non-aggressive wolves. For details, go here


    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears

      Thanks Maska,

      Interesting read..

    2. Maska Avatar

      You’re welcome. I figure it never hurts to go to the original document. 🙂

    3. NW Avatar

      Maska, Thanks for posting the link. I was going to do the same. I haven’t read it for a while but I remember that at least one of the incidents described involved a wolf in a trap, another a wolf following someone who had stolen a pup from a den. Here are a couple of articles from Scandinavia on the subject.



  19. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I look at the statistics, that is all, I don’t think either side should over blow or under state the statistics…I didn’t say high or low, I said it was significant that is all, you are taking what I said out of context..

  20. Si'vet Avatar

    As the human population increases, and prey decreases, conflicts will also increase, whether it’s on public or private land. This is why there needs to be some good common sense used when deciding on the number of wolves managed in the lower 48. Consider the current population of the US in regards to Canada /Alaska over the last 100yrs. I believe there are more people living in California alone than in Can/Ak. This isn’t a hysteria comment, just something to consider. Wolves need to managed at level they can coincide in higher human population levels, the days of always letting nature take it’s course amid 270,000,000 million humans has run it’s course sad to say.

  21. timz Avatar

    This is also an important fact.

    The cases in which wolves are most aggressive are the cases involving wolves that have become habituated to people, he said. “

    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears


      You are right, it is probably the most important fact

    2. Maska Avatar

      Indeed. This is more likely to become a serious issue in national parks than on national forest or BLM land, it seems to me, given the much higher density of well-meaning, but naive, tourists in the parks, and the completely protected status of the animals.

      I imagine (although I have no actual data) that poaching is much more prevalent outside the parks, which should make for more wary animals, even if they are still protected under the ESA. Certainly in the Southwest, where poaching has been common, we see mainly the rear ends of lobos moving away, with an occasional five-or-ten-second frontal view, when one stops to check us out from a distance of a couple of hundred yards.

      People who support the return of wolves to the landscape need to present as realistic a view of the behavior of the species as possible. Outreach programs in Yellowstone and other parks (such as Grand Canyon, should we succeed in getting wolves reintroduced there) need to emphasize interpretation of wolf behavior, how to avoid habituating them, and how to stay safe in their presence.

  22. JB Avatar

    For a little perspective, domestic dogs killed 33 people in the U.S. in 2007.

  23. Si'vet Avatar

    A little more prospective, there are 77,000,000 dogs in the USA. Living in and around people many with pretty lousy owners.

  24. Elk275 Avatar


    How many domestic dogs vs how many wolves? Then how many miss guided individuals have viscous pit bulls?

  25. Elk275 Avatar

    Si’vet we think the same.

  26. timz Avatar

    I guess it takes a possible bad wolf/human encounter and look what crawls out from under their rock. Speaking of you Bob in the 37 miles I drive to work the other morning I photographed 4 seperate elks herds, there were so many in one of them they looked like ants on a hillside. The first thing I thought was “damn the decimation of our elk herds” I’ll send them to you for your website if you like.

  27. JB Avatar

    My point wasn’t to suggest that wolves are not dangerous, but that the danger posed by wolves needs to be put in perspective. Certainly exposure is part of that perspective; however, if you’re actually concerned about threats to human lives, domestic dogs (or rusty nails, for that matter) make a better villain than wolves.

    – – – – –

    77,000,000 dogs and ~5,000 wolves are too many? You guys crack me up.

  28. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I am almost sure, there is more than 5000 wolves in the world…

  29. Si'vet Avatar

    Timz, instead of a photo, how about, a state and unit number, since my opportunity to hunt the LoLo are over, I’ve been dispersed.

  30. Si'vet Avatar

    JB, the humor is mutual, I’m not sure the exact number of wolves, but but 77 mil dos vs responsible ownership is way to many.

  31. Si'vet Avatar


  32. JB Avatar

    Save Bears:

    I was comparing the number of dogs in the U.S to the number of wolves in the U.S.

    NRM DPS ~1,600
    WGL DPS ~ 3,500
    Mexican ~50

    But you’re right. I forgot Alaska.

  33. Si'vet Avatar

    JB, again just for the record, if the elk and deer herds weren’t being impacted by the wolves, it wouldn’t bother me in the least to have one behind every bush, I grew up just south of Yellowstone we picked berries with the bears. The fear factor for me just doesn’t come into play, but I don’t go sticking my camera up a mooses nose or in a buffalo’s ear.

    1. JB Avatar

      One behind every bush? Let’s not get carried away! The cost in radio collars alone would be prohibitive. 😉

  34. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Bob Fanning,

    Do you ever write anything of your own?

  35. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Doesn’t matter who wrote it. I’ve never known Bob Fanning or Jim Beers to present a truthful fact about wolves ever.


  36. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    For those of us with a more scientific turn of mind, perhaps we should wait for the results of the autopsy before coming to conclusions.


    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears


      I was actually more interested in the statistics brought forth in the article, and I agree, I will be interested in seeing what the autopsy shows, over the speculations presented in the news article

    2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
      Robert Hoskins


      As Maska pointed out, the article did a terrible job on reporting the statistics of wolf-human interactions.

      Nor am I aware that Alaska State Troopers are trained forensic biologists.

      I hate stuff like this.


    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      For the sake of good science, we can all hope Dr. Paul Paquet from the Kenton Carnagie death case is not involved in the autopsy or investigation.

    4. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      I would recommend reading “Wolves,Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation” Chapter 7, for a comprehensive treatise on wolf parasites, pathogens, and Physiology. The author Terry J Kreegar, has probably forgot more of the subject matter than Bob “chicken little” Fanning, Valerius “fear monger” Geist, and Will “I found a cash cow”Graves, among others, will ever know.
      You could not pull the unfettered truth from that bunch with a D10 Cat.

  37. Bob Fanning Avatar
    Bob Fanning

    Sure Ralph .Like apples? How ’bout these apples ?
    Didn’t see you at the EQC Ralph but did turn to Bob Ream when I finished delivering this and said: “That one was for you.”
    Last Friday (March 5, 2010), I had a meeting and conversation with
    Joe Maurier, FWP Director, following an extensive hearing. I testified on
    behalf of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd regarding wolves and
    hydatid disease in front of the Montana Environmental Quality Council. The
    leadership of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks was present as was the
    Chairman of the Montana Fish and Game Commission. We explained to the
    abbreviated session of the Montana Legislature that the fatal, wolf born
    Echinococcus granulosus disease posed great and lethal public health threats
    and presented our multiple Ph.D & D.V.M. source citations. We pleaded that
    the Governor call in the CDC to quantify the damage, educate the public as
    to the health risk, and train health care workers in all Montana hospitals
    to recognize ,diagnose and treat Echinococcus granulosus. We demanded that
    Mt. FWP cease in their public relations campaign to down play the situation,
    because of their financial conflict of interest and potential trailing
    liability issues and especially their lack of qualified public health
    officials to make such reckless and unfounded assertions. Director Maurier
    agreed with us in his open testimony, particularly after his Montana FWP
    Veterinarian confirmed that 90 % of the introduced wolves tested in SW
    Montana are carrying the disease, such disease being prevalent due to the
    high densities of these wolves. He stated further that the C.D.C. should be
    brought in.
    In that meeting, I told Director Maurier that if the public health issue of
    Echinococcus granulosus hydatid disease is not confronted directly, openly,
    honestly and professionally with science instead of politics and stop the 3
    year cover up of the hydatid disease and other wolf born diseases test
    results, then, not only would the Montana public completely lose trust in
    Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks but they would stop obeying that agency as
    well. The Gray wolf has been forced on us and because of the lethal
    disease they can introduce to the human population; we have a natural,
    lawful right to defend ourselves, our children and grandchildren. I
    concluded by advising Director Maurier that Friends of the Northern
    Yellowstone Elk Herd has submitted formal, written legal notice, following
    extensive consultation with multiple highly credentialed scientists.


  38. Devin Avatar

    Thanks for the laughs. I am surprised you had time to post that seeing as your schedule today consisted of a Tea Party protest and a cross burning….

    I think someone needs a hug.

  39. Mgulo Avatar

    Is it “Fanning” or “Frothing”?

    What an amazing bowl of venom-laced fear! Somebody needs a tranq!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      If Bob Fanning and friends had suddenly developed a real interest in Cestoda (tapeworms), they would discover that almost every kind of vertebrate can be infected by one or more of the thousand or so species of tapeworms. Of course there are many other kinds of parasitic worms too.

      The one he is so upset about, however, is just one species, Echinococcus granulosus (more commonly called the “dog tapeworm,” not the “wolf tapeworm”). It has been around for a long time. It infects all kinds of canids and can produce a dangerous larval form of infection in other vertebrates because among them there can develop a secondary infestation because they are dead end hosts.

      Historically, (it was mentioned in the Bible) the tapeworm most worrisome isTaenia solium, the pork tapeworm, that has been of much greater concern because it too produces a larval form and is much more common. In many poor countries as many as 20% of the population is infected. It is spread by eating undercooked pork.

      It’s true that about 50% of the wolves seem to be infected with or have the antibody to the worm. The spread of the dog tapeworm is less than the pork tapeworm because it is spread by ingesting canid fecal material, not canid flesh. It seems to have been around long before the the wolf was restored. A quick Google search showed me a research paper describing a deer in Oregon in 1925 with a secondary infection of this worm

      If you don’t wash your hands, let your dog roam and sleep with it, or live in close unsanitary contact with other animals you can almost guarantee bacterial, viral and/or parasitic infections. Hydatid Disease is just one such infestation.

      With just a couple infections like smallpox, all human infections originated with animals.

      The development of modern hygiene has greatly reduced worm infestations in developed countries. If Fanning and friends were interested in public health broadly, their message would be different than their attempt to stir up fear of something that is here, has been here, and will never go away. I mean these folks have quite a different agenda, and as usual fear is their method.

      Mom was right. Wash your hands, children!

    2. Maska Avatar

      Actually, our very first dog—a sweet, goofy Old English Sheepdog—got infested with tapeworm, as well as hookworms and roundworms, at Ft. Riley, KS, back in the 1970’s. He was successfully treated and neither we nor our five-year-old was infected. This is a red herring.

    3. Angela Avatar

      I wonder what he thinks about raccoon roundworm! lol
      Talk about paranoid–one wonders how humans ever survive. It’s a jungle out there!

  40. Andy Avatar

    WOW…are you sure this Bob guy isn’t from Idaho??? I think he’s on our F&G Commission

  41. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    Kind of looks like the author had diarrhia of the keyboard.

    First a reference to ducks (I’m with you so far). Then a switch to a snake taxonomy lesson – poisonous and non-poisonous- what is with that? Going for the “YUK” factor, here, I’m guessing, especially with the “slither” reference. Got me even more confused with these differently described poisonous snakes that “den” up to plan objectives (a quantum leap for snake intelligence here). Guess the poisonous ones must be the same species, afterall, even after the taxonomic differentiation in the preceeding 22 paragraphs. I would have voted for the term “snake convention.” Might have even come out of a Disney movie, or a bad dream. Either that, or he doesn’t know squat about herpatology

    Then we go to one harmless non-poisonous snake (one species, I gather?) that recognizes Constitutional rights. Big leap for snake intelligence here. Whooah ya lost me there, partner.

    Also not sure how it then quickly switches from snakes to sharks somewhere in the last paragraph, and then to Christians in the amphitheatre – I gather that means the arena to do battle or get slaughered.

    Gosh, is this a metaphor, analogy or simile? Maybe there is a parable here, too?

    And, here I thought this blog was an opportunity for reasoned thought. Silly me.

  42. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Perhaps Fanning can tell us what PhD and DVM stand for before he starts talking about science.


  43. Cindy Avatar

    Bob – Since I’m not planning on eating any Wolf shit in the near future, I’ll take my chances having them roam “OUR” wild western states. This will eliminate my risk of acquiring echinococcus granulosus hydatid disease.

  44. Jamie Archer Avatar
    Jamie Archer

    Humans are the most dangerous species of all. Humans kill far more humans than wildlife does.

  45. steve c Avatar

    I wonder if there is any chance that this could have been wolf-dog hybrid that got loose. Even if it were a wild wolf it is important to put the danger of things in perspective. According to the CDC there are 4.5 million dog bites per year with 31,000 victims per year requiring reconstructive surgery.

    1. JimT Avatar


  46. JimT Avatar

    I thought the hysteria would be amongst the general public, not this blog…Sheesh. Perspective, folks, perspective. No one said life was safe, even in your own bathroom, on the highways, and certainly not in nature. The official report hopefully will tamp some of it down, and help keep this from being blown up by deliberate misuse of media.

  47. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I have not seen any hysteria on this thread, seems like everybody is discussing things pretty civil?

    1. JimT Avatar

      A slight joke…SB…Let’s see…there might be TWO deaths attributed to unprovoked attacks by wolves….depending on the autopsy report. Discussions have been civil…and informative. Let me surf on over to lobo watch and see true hysteria…VBG

  48. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    Opps, my bad, I forgot Fanning posted!!! Me Bad!

  49. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    This is a tragedy to happen and you can bet the people at sites like saveelk, lobo watch, and other sites, along with people like Rex Rammell will use this as fodder for quite some time. The fact remains that these are very rare.

  50. Harley Avatar

    Just curious, first time posting on this side of the fence. Is there any sort of agreement that wolves should be managed in some form or another?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I think most folks believe that wolves need to be managed in some form. The trouble with the state fish and game departments is not management, but that by “wolf management” they simply mean to kill, which is not what the word brings to mind with the average person.

    2. Harley Avatar

      I’ve seen the pictures of the many wolf carcasses from the past. It wasn’t a pretty sight. But how do you control a population that is just too numerous? Relocating probably isn’t the answer, so what is? I’ve read in different reports that X amount of wolves should be mantained. When that number greatly excedes what was promoted, expected, what is the solution? I am not a hunter, I’m a suburbanite in Illinois, far removed from anthing resembling wilderness so I am just really trying to sift through information that’s been given to me, information that I’ve found on my own. In an idealistic world, we could let mother nature take care of everything but there are just too many human variables to make that work well enough. We have had slightly different issues with an over abundance of deer causing real serous problems and people were screaming don’t kill bambi! But what about the innocent family on the road when bambi steps out in front of them? I don’t know, I don’t like to advocate killing, we’ve seen what happens when it goes on unchecked, but how else do you manage/control a situation like that, like with an over population of wolves?

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Just for the sake of argument what do you think is “an overpopulation of wolves”?

  51. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Bob – after the Feb. MT FWP meeting the Bozeman paper cited lower elk numbers for the Tobacco Root/Gravelly/Snowcrest resulting in fewer hunter opportunities. Since then I have been attempting to obtain this information with no success. Do you have any thoughts on this issue?

  52. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    It will be interesting to see what the autopsy comes up with. It will of course be very unusual, although certainly not impossible, if it was a healthy wolf (or wolves). Rabies is a hazard well-known by locals in Chignik and other villages on the Alaska Peninsula. My older brother spent nearly 40 years working out there based out of Chignik and later Cold Bay as a fishery management biologist, including 10,000s of hours in the air over and between bays and streams from Bristol Bay to well out in the Aleutians. He probably knew the country and people out there better than anyone ever has. Wolves are reasonably common most of the time, but he said rabies periodically gets into the population and pretty much wipes them out. There’s a big fox population, as in much of western Alaska, so rabies probably never really leaves the country – even when it’s not in the wolves. There are lots of rabies stories – I remember one about some guys landing at a strip on the north side in a Cessna 206 when a rabid wolf came out of the alders and started biting the plane before they had even climbed out. Certainly, a lone wolf suffering rabies (but otherwise reasonably healthy) could be a serious problem for a lone person.

    1. JimT Avatar

      SEAK Mossback,

      Thanks for your “on the spot” posting.

      I am wondering..is there anyway to dose for rabies via dropped meat treats? Or are the packs just too scattered for that to be done. God forbid I want Alaskan helicopters up in the air searching for wolves…

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      From what I understand there is no preventive measure for the rabies virus, except an injected vaccine. Once symptoms show in an animal/human, which is usually up to three weeks after exposure, it is too late for treatment. Treatment of suspected rabies exposure is a series of painful injections for humans (in the abdomen, I recall correctly). Not sure what, if anything, can be done for canids or other animals. Disease is transmitted through saliva of infected host – via licking or a bite.

      CDC has a good website for rabies

      Also, http://dogs.about.com/od/caninediseases/p/rabies.htm

    3. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

      Wilderness Muse
      Not knowing much about rabies I know that there is a continuous mass vaccination of foxes with meat baits containing the vaccine in Europe. So in theory at least this should also be possible with wolves.

    4. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Peter (&JimT),

      Thanks for the info. I obviously know less than you. I gather the fox work has been going on since the early 1990’s.

      Looks like here in the US our buddies at WS have been doing some work on an oral rabies vaccine for awhile, as well. Jim, do you trust them throwing meatballs out of the helicopter?


    5. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Sorry, work in Europe has been going on since the 1980’s, and in US since 1990’s.

    6. NW Avatar

      I remember hearing from one of the scientists involved that CDC and Wildlife Services dropped baits over a huge area of Texas in the 90’s to control rabies in foxes. I just found this link showing they were still doing it as recently as last year:

  53. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    SEAK Mossback,

    I have noticed that you are someone who speaks with real knowledge about parts of Alaska that are not at all well known.

    Thank you.

  54. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    You are welcome Ralph. Actually, I grew up at Mammoth Hot Springs from age 8 to 18 (between stints in Alaska) so am very interested in keeping up on issues in your area, even though I don’t have much current to contribute to the highly informed participants in this forum.

  55. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Devin – seems most here are willing to overlook your connecting some of the best this country has ever seen the “tea party” with some of the worst this country has ever seen “cross burning”. You have a right to free speech and so do I. You are a disgusting human being. And if you are an American, you are some of the worst this country has to offer.

  56. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    All this avid outdoorsmen, mountainmen, real men and these world famous scientists that appear in the casting list of that comedy seem to fear only one thing in their life. No, not the bear, the lion, the wolf, neither god nor devil (not even their wifes), what they really fear is that tapeworm crawling up their guts…..

    1. JimT Avatar

      Or one of the ones that eventually bore out through your leg, and you have to wind a string around it attached to a stick, and slowly help it get out of there. IF it breaks, you are in big trouble. Luckily, it is in Africa…for us.

  57. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Bob”chicken little”Fanning says “particularly after his Montana FWP Veterinarian confirmed that 90 % of the introduced wolves tested in SW
    Montana are carrying the disease”
    we Know that the reintroduced wolves were free of this and other parasites and were fully inoculated when restored to their historic range.

    We know that the particular parasite that Bob has his panties in a twist about requires two hosts to complete its life cycle.

    We know that in order to become infected the wolves would have to have eaten infected prey; deer, elk, cow, and particularly domestic sheep, and thus start the cycle.

    Enjoy your leg of lamb this Easter.

  58. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Talks with bears,

    When George Bush was spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq on Iraqis the future tea partiers were silent. Now that Obama wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in america on americans they are all screaming. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

  59. emfdvm Avatar

    While I’m no expert in matters of sheep, other ruminants, and their parasites, I can speak as someone who was learning about tapeworms and hydatid disease in the US BEFORE wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. When I was in veterinary school (mid-90’s) we were taught in parasitology (in which we had over 60 hours of instruction) that foxes, coyotes, herding dogs, guardian dogs – all of them- have the potential to eat uncooked meat that could infect them and could subsequently spread the disease to humans who are not as careful as they should be.

    Why this has become the cause celebre of anti-wolf folks all of sudden is mind-boggling. I don’t think the data’s that hard to find to show that this is not a new problem, nor one that will change much, with or without wolves.

    Ellen (from a place with lots of wolves and lots of ruminants – Minnesota)

  60. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    You foks are missing something.
    The teacher was out jogging in an area inhabited with large predators. A woman in Banff Alberta was killed by a cougar a few years ago while doing the same. I talked to a bicycle rider in Yellowstone last year, who complained about a coyote that was trying to bite his leg while he was cycling near Canyon Village. Activities like bicycling and jogging trigger a chase reflex in pedatory animals, including domestic dogs. The use of some common sense about where you jog or bike would stop these kind of attacks.

  61. Virginia Avatar

    I was just wondering what Bob Fanning’s diatribe actually had to do with the topic of this story?

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Bob “chicken little” Fanning is the dictionary definition of “non sequitur”

  62. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    No one was silent then, we are just louder now. Why are you silent now?

  63. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Bob Fanning makes a big deal about how Joe Maurier, Director of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, agrees with him about wolves. Trouble is, Joe Maurier’s only qualification to be FWP Director is that he’s a college buddy of Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and will do whatever he’s told to do. In reality, all he is is a paper pusher. Here’s his resume:


    He’s no more qualified to speak about issues of biological or ecological science than is Bob Fanning.


  64. Mgulo Avatar


    I’m up on the tapeworm issue, have quite a library on it actually. The guy who taught me to trap first told me about it nearly fifty years ago and I’ve been aware of it personally and professionally ever since. Just a little surprised that so much is being made out of so little and with so much heat. As you pointed out, this problem is not new. But neither will it cause the sky to fall. A little basic hygiene and relatively traditional culinary habits are all that is required.

    As I tried to point out in a couple of earlier posts: the biology of the wolf issue is relatively simple but is becoming largely irrelevant. At this stage of the controversy people are using all sorts of “tools” to promote their own agendas. There are a bunch of people (on both sides) getting ego boosts and money boosts and their “15 minutes” out of this issue by keeping the heat on any way they can. If that means manufacturing crisises, that now seems nore the norm than the exception. Then, at some point the vitriol overwhelms the original issue and the knives come out.

    I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the spotted owl and the wolf conspired to cause the fall of the Roman Empire and they’re out to do the same for America!

    My bet is that if folks on both sides had the patience to back off for 15 years and let things settle down life would be better for everyone: elk, wolves, hunters, everyone. But, of course, we are humans….

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      I do not have 15 years. In 15 years I will be 73 and I want to have killed 15 more bulls and not had to go through a drawing and getting a tag every 2 to 4 years.

    2. JimT Avatar

      Well, ELK 275, you know what Mick says…

      You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need….:*)

  65. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Interesting in the article it mentions that trapping is allowed from October 1st to April 30th; and that a hunter can take 10 wolves per day August 10 until May 25. Hopefully Idano won’t set that type of quotas.

    1. Jeff Avatar

      Considering that the overall quota set by Idaho was filled, it may not matter what the quota is—sportsment haven’t been able to fill the existing quotas. I’m not advocating mass killings of wolves nor do I intend to hunt them myself, but notable biologists have always said that a simple fair chase hunt and/or trapping will never seriously dent wolf populations. Poisoning and aerial shooting is what will do them in, not hunting or trapping.

    2. Harley Avatar

      Ok so still waiting for some sort of response. How do you manage any kind of animal population that has just gotten too numerous and is eating itself out of house and home?

    3. Andy Avatar

      Harley… what animals have gotten so numerous? Wolves are self limiting with territory and food source, Elk herds decline due to habitat and both follow the food source. The problem is we TRY to manage animals for the population quotas that WE set. Left to their own demise… there would be no demise. Wolves and elk have coexisted for tens of thousands of years. It’s only when man gets involved and tries to “manage” things to HIS liking that we(man) get frustrated. Remember, WE’RE the ones trying to alter the system… not the elk or the wolves. Any numbers we set are purely arbitrary and based on what we believe are the best practices at the time… but we’re trying to manage a system that would normally manage itself if left alone.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I have noticed a subtle shift in recent weeks among those who say wolves take too many elk (I am not referring to “Harley” here).

      They are actually moving to a position to try to produce so many elk that other wildlife, wildlife of all kinds, suffers in an attempt to raise elk like livestock for maximum production of one species.

    5. Jeff Avatar

      That is clearly the goal of ID, MT and WY Game and Fish Deptartments as elk tags are the most popular big game tags. Elk are the strongest “generalist” herbivores in North America—save possibly bison. They compete with both browsers (deer, bighorns, and moose) and grazers (bison and cattle) Wildsheep are too sucesptible to disease and too incompatible with the ag industry powers of the states, same with bision. Deer are numerous everywhere in the U.S. and people are less willing to pay big bucks for a Western deer hunt as opposed to an elk hunt. So when Gamd and Fish agencies budgets are based on license and tag sales it would make sense they would maximize their most desirable commodity…elk—even when it means making direct and indirect choices that negatively impact other species.

    6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      You are right, the Game and Fish departments want elk more than anything else.

      Given that, however, they still won’t take on the major barrier to more elk — public lands cattle.

    7. Elk275 Avatar

      Jeff, I think that you are wrong on elk. I think that big mule deer bucks are more popular. Guided mule deer hunts and auction tags are getting more expensive than elk tags and guided hunts.

    8. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      ++…..it would make sense they would maximize their most desirable commodity…elk—even when it means making direct and indirect choices that negatively impact other species.++

      Does this theme come through in the recent 2008 Idaho Mule Deer Management Plan, which if I recall correctly had a very substantial public survey input to it? I do not remember such a tone, but I could be wrong. I suppose it might emerge in some of the ongoing studies to improve mule deer habitat. This, of course, raises another question, which we have not spoken much of here. That would be wolf – deer interactions, in areas where elk are not present in expanding wolf ranges. I have heard from a couple of my relatives who have hunted certain units in which deer populations seem to be affected by expanding wolf presence and numbers. At least that is their complaint. Can’t say anything about the validity of their concerns. Hmmmmmm. A whole new topic to discuss.

    9. Jeff Avatar

      I agree that big mule deer are the most coveted big game animal among veteran hunters and that prices are at a premium for such hunts, however when one looks at the mass appeal of tags throughout the U.S as a whole many hunters dream of an elk hunt because they have whitetails everywhere and a lot of these folks are do it yourself out-of-state hunters.

    10. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      You might also be interested to know Idaho non-resident elk tag sales are WAY down for this time of year as compared to most in the past. It is no doubt a combination of the economy, increase in tag prices and, dare I say it, perceived effect of wolves. For example, Lolo, Selway, Middle Fork and Sawtooth management zones have hardly a dent in the assigned quotas. Some of these unit quotas are sold out by early February. Now they are less than 20% sold. These tags are separate from outfitter quotas, so the out of state do-it-yourself elk hunters must know of your observations and conclusions. Don’t know whether the outfitters are feeling the same pinch in ID, or what is going on in MT or WY.

  66. dewey Avatar

    Scanning the above posts, I didn’t see one key fact I was looking for to put all this in context . Maybe I missed it, but it would’ve been helpful to know the estimated population number of Wolves in Alaska.

    I found a source that said it is between 7500 and 11,000 ( Defenders of Wildlife website…the official Alaska game department will give you every population estimates for every species except wolves, it seems).

    That wolf census number works out to approximately one Wolf for every 10 humans residing in Alaska. Which if you like to play with or subvert statistics, thinly populated Wyoming would have to have 5,000 wolves before one or two people were fatally attacked by them. We have < 250.

    Just a caffeine-powered observation. I concur that we should hold our opinions close till the autopsy is done and forensics are better known…

  67. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Look up history on the Yellowstone and Lolo elk herds in the past. This is a starter: Idaho Fish and Game completes Lolo zone elk survey
    March 2, 2010 — Ralph Maughan

  68. Harley Avatar

    Over population would be, at least for me, if that number excedes what the guidlines set forth when the wolves were reintroduced. One of the arguments I’ve seen is that the herds in Idaho were declining before the wolves entered the scene. Studies were done on how many wolves an area could handle. I’m sorry, I don’t have those exact numbers in front of me but I would think that when those numbers excede that, some sort of control needs to take place. So I’m wondering what that control would be. If we run into this problem of not enough of a food source for the wolves, encounters between humans and wolves will be more frequent. That is just common sense. No matter what the reason, if herd numbers are going down, something needs to be done. All I’m wondering is what will be done. I’m not trying to be controversial or argumentative. I just want to know what the back up plan is.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      I would recommend Thoroughly reading the wolf introduction plans from the federal government and the various states. Look for where things like “minimums and maximum” terms are used.
      You may be surprised.
      As for what Management of a population should be, you are likely to get as many different answers as the number of people you ask. A big first step in real effective management would be to get the politics out of the equation and get the livestock industry out of running the show as far as who is really calling the shots.
      Good luck with that

    2. Andy Avatar

      Don’t forget that Elk populations are cyclical> So much so that the park service actually culled the elk herds in the 60’s… taking it from 16,000 down to 2,000… If we talk about the Lolo herd, what time period did you want to look at? Remember Lewis and Clark almost starved to death in that same area… no elk. Fires come in the early 1900’s…new habitat…lots of elk. We’re trying to keep elk herds artificially high in some areas that no longer support them due to habitat. Elk Numbers…Wolf Numbers… cattle numbers… they’re all MANs attempt to artificially manage the eco system. But man also possesses selfish special interests… some like to hunt… some like to raise cattle… some want to see a natural balance. So everybody argues about the “proper number.”

    3. Elk275 Avatar

      ++Elk Numbers…Wolf Numbers… cattle numbers… they’re all MANs attempt to artificially manage the eco system. But man also possesses selfish special interests… some like to hunt… some like to raise cattle… some want to see a natural balance. So everybody argues about the “proper number.”++

      The proper number is going to be another 100 million in the USA by 2050 and the populations of 2 chinas by 2050. We all like to eat and have to eat. While some of us want proper eco systems and others want to hunt. There is to many of us and sooner than later something is going to have to give.

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      There are too many of us. If we want to have a hunting and gathering culture, which might be better for us psychologically, our numbers need to be like 100 or 200 million, not 8 billion.

    5. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      You are absolutely correct. Think about it. One in four people in the world is from China; one in three from China or India. And bringing it closer to home, we have added an addtional 12 to 20 million the last twenty years from illegal immigration from Latin America, in addition to the legal population growth, and the offspring of those here illegally. We should be closer to 260 million, than 300 million in the US. All of this because we have a dysfunctional federal government that can’t even enforce the environmental rules it has on the books, like FLPMA and publc grazing standards. What will the future hold for reminants of wild lands or even a nominal hunter gather culture, and the psychological benefits of such a lifestyle?

  69. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    The State Troopers put out a media advisory today. Not really much new. I don’t know if this is the last word from the medical examiner, or just a preliminary conclusion about non-criminal nature. It’s been a very warm winter and I suppose there were no easily recognizable tracks. Brown bears occasionally come out in the winter and have killed people at that time of year before (most recent example I remember was a geological surveyor on the Kenai Peninsula).

    “(CHIGNIK LAKE, Alaska)— Investigation has determined that Candice Berner’s death was non-criminal in nature. An autopsy conducted today confirmed Ms. Berner died from injuries sustained in an animal attack. According to the State Medical Examiner, the manner of death is “accidental” and the cause of death is “multiple injuries due to animal mauling”. After conferring with state biologists and the community of Chignik Lake, it has been concluded that the animals most likely responsible for the attack are wolves. The Alaska State Troopers’(AST) death investigation regarding this incident is closed.

    AST is providing assistance to the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) as it addresses public safety concerns regarding wolf activity close to the community of Chignik Lake under the ADF&G Commissioner’s statutory authority. A trooper pilot and an R-44 helicopter are en route to Chignik Lake to assist Fish and Game efforts. Barring any weather or logistical issues, a trooper, as well as a representative from ADF&G, will attend a public meeting in Chignik Lake tonight to address ongoing response efforts and concerns of local residents.”

  70. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    There was just an Alaska Public Radio announcement based on an interview with the state troopers that said the body was surrounded by wolf tracks and that there is still a chance DNA testing will provide a definitive result . . . Sounds like they will also be looking by helicopter and no nearby conifer forest and the leaves off the alders, there’s a chance they will find something.

  71. Andy Avatar

    I’ve read through the thread and have not seen this topic. I don’t wish to discount the tragedy of this incident, nor do I wish to sound like I’m placing blame… nothing could be further from the truth. But I wonder if this young woman was running, as has been assumed, what natural “prey flight” instincts might have been provoked. I think it’s safe to say the increase in cat encounters have certainly shown the “flight response” as provoked by a jogger or cyclist has certainly come into play, as has physical stature. How much of a role might these have played in an attack?

  72. jon Avatar

    Well, the autopsy is done and they said animals mauled the teacher. The chief suspects are wolves.


  73. Nancy Avatar

    I thought I’d just read that wolves tend to not bury or hide their kill. Was that an incorrect bit of information I read? Come to think of it, I’ve never read where wolves do bury or hide their kill? Was this unfortunate victim partially buried?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Wolves don’t bury their kill, nor hide it. They don’t drag it either. This report said there were drag marks, but they might have just meant the body being tugged one way then the other.

      I don’t buy the idea that bears are not out yet. I understand it has been a mild winter.

      No doubt some wolves will be shot, but if they are known to be the correct ones will depend on examination of stomach contents. An autopsy should also be able to tell if bites were the cause of death or came afterwards.

      An investigation like this has to also rule out the following alternative direct causes
      1. Death by natural cause (such as a brain aneurysm)
      2. Accident
      3. Suicide
      4. Homicide

      When local authorities want to close a case quickly, one always has to suspect no. 4 and a coverup. I haven’t seen enough hard news to tell if there is an official rush to judgment. Let hope there is more professionalism here than in the Kenton Carnegie case.

    2. Nancy Avatar

      It was this paragraph from Halpin’s report that threw me (maybe it’s concerning something else). Here it is:

      Just a few hours later, about 6:30 p.m., someone on a four-wheeler came across some blood along the road and discovered the remains had been pulled into tall brush, maybe 10 to 15 yards off the road, Luthi said. Berner had apparently been killed within the past few hours, he said.

      If this is about Berner, why was she “pulled?” So, anyway, I really liked your points about the potential causes of death.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      That’s very critical information if it is true. It is unwolflike. It is like a bear or a cougar.

  74. jon Avatar

    I am sure a lot of innocent wolves will be gunned down now. Any wolves in the area will most likely lose their lives. Animals really aren’t allowed to be animals anymore it seems. It seems like when wild predatory animals act like wild predatory animals and attack a person, people are in shock. They don’t know or understand how this could have happened. I don’t like the direction this world is going on. Animals being killed for being animals and following their instincts and just trying to survive and they have to end up paying with their lives when they act like a wild animal.

    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears


      Animals have always paid the price, since the beginning of time, why should it be any different now a days?

      Anybody that does not realize that with the technology we have developed, animals will most of the time loose when it comes to a animal killing a human, I still don’t understand why this is so hard to understand.

      Now to say, there is no such thing as a guilty or an innocent animal, these are human emotions, if we want to win the battle we need to really change our thought pattern, animals do not have human emotions or human irregularities, animals are simply animals…they have no concept of what we believe….

    2. mike Avatar

      Ralph ~ about “dragging”

      “With natural prey, dragging of large bodies is a characteristic behaviour of bears but not wolves. Wolves commonly carry small prey (5 – 15 kg) such as deer fawns (Odocoileus sp.) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) calves away from the site of attack before killing them (pers. observation). Likewise, in India small children preyed on by wolves are often carried away from the attack site (Rajpurohit 1999, Jhala pers. comm.) Two or more wolves are certainly capable of dragging a 70 kg body more than 50 m. In our experience, however, when more than 1 wolf is involved in a kill of a large bodied animal (>40 kg), dragging is seldom directionally coordinated because individual wolves usually tug from different directions. From our records of more than 1,500 deer, elk (Cervus elaphus), moose, and caribou killed by wolves, dragging the carcass more than 10 m occurred less than 1% of the time. The longest straight-line drag distance recorded was about 32 m, and this was a deer carcass placed on a frozen lake as bait. In comparison, nearly all of the 119 bear kills of elk and moose we investigated showed signs of dragging, although distances were more difficult to determine because of the absence of snow. Nevertheless, bears moved many carcasses more than 50 m. U.S. Fish and Wildlife records of large carnivores dragging carcasses support our observations. Of 300 recorded kills, in only 4 cases did wolves drag ungulate carcasses in the snow more than 10 m. All the bear kills located were dragged some distance (> 30 m) away from where the initial fatal attack occurred (M. Jimenez and E. Bangs pers. comm.). Based on examination of 2,173 wolf kills in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, dragging of carcasses was an extremely rare phenomenon and never exceeded 15 m (D. Smith pers. comm.).

      – Review of Investigative Findings Relating to the Death of Kenton Carnegie at Points North, Saskatchewan by Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, and Dr. Ernest G. Walker, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 08 August 2008″[1]

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      ++About dragging++

      You lost me with the citation form of your post. Is the first paragraph from your post in quotes (“___”) a direct quote from the report of Paquet as identified in the second paragraph?

      If it is, he may be correct on his observations about dragging as extensively cited. Do, however, consider the source.

      However, the conclusions Paquet reached on the cause of death of Carnegie was contrary to nearly all other scientific, medical and law enforcement investigators, witnesses AND a Coroner’s inquest jury convened to determine cause of death. There has been quite a bit written about Paquet’s qualifications to do such work, the extensive flaws of his investigative work, and his well known role as a wolf advocate. And, specifically the flaws of his investigation and conclusions of Carnegie’s death.

      In short, if it comes from Paquet’s pen or mouth, one should continue asking questions. By the way, he concluded Carnegie’s death was likely a bear instead of the wolves seen earlier that very day. Those wolves (habituated to people and sometimes feeding at a nearby dump) had been extremely aggressive with a couple of aviation mechanics and co-workers of Carnegie) who took pictures of the wolves that very day. and the fact that Carnegie specifically took a walk to seek out those wolves.

      The convenient, but small, doubt which Paquet created has allowed some who believe wolves do not kill humans to continue to assert that position, notwithstanding a strong majority opinion to the contrary.

      By the way, are you Mike from Chicago, or another? If I recall correctly a post sometime back said there were now two posters using the name “Mike” (possibly case sensitive distinction)? Which are you?

    4. mike Avatar

      Wildnerness Muse

      I’m new at posting in this forum though I’ve been reading it for years – one of my favorite sites, and have learned a lot here.

      I directly quoted from the wikipedia, there’s more @

      It’s just that I remembered reading that Carnegie’s body had been dragged, so I thought the info would be directly relevant to the recent attack and the the conversation at hand. I appreciate your insight. I don’t have much to add but I’m told I’m real good at researching online articles.
      Hope I’ll be able to be useful with that.

      btw I live in south florida


    5. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      Alaska and the hunter controlled Board of Game has been allowing trapping of wolves outside Denali in a buffer zone. There are reports the trappers have trapped wolves that have been in the trap for 10 days or more. How could anyone allow such inhumane and unethical behavior, where a few sadistic trappers have so much control over wildlife- I don’t get it.

  75. jon Avatar

    Save Bears, I know that. The wolves don’t know any better. They did what came natural to them and now they will be killed for it. I do not feel animals should be killed for acting like animals. That is my opinion.

    1. Save Bears Avatar
      Save Bears


      And that is a good opinion, that was not my point at all, my point is there is no innocence or guilt in nature, they will loose, they killed a human, and in human terms something has to pay….

  76. Harley Avatar

    Oh man, I’m opening up a can of worms and leaving myself vulnerable to being put in my place but…
    Ok, let’s just say this woman shouldn’t have been out running. What if she had a gun while she was running, knowing she was in an area that might have animals that well, act like animals? (although, who goes running with a gun! Ok… maybe on the streets of Chicago…) What if instead she had shot this wolf? How would the public reaction be then? What if this wolf is sick? What if this wolf decides that humans are pretty darn easy prey? Sure, there are a lot of people who will use this as a stick to beat the wolf with, literally but people, come on! This wasn’t an animal that we took out of it’s natural habitat and expected it to perform! When we do stuff like that, we are just asking for an accident to happen, it’s not a question of if but of when. I suppose the solution would be for her to have never gone out that far and by the way some of you are talking here, it just feels like you believe it’s her fault, she should have known better because now the wolves will pay for her mistake. But… what if she just didn’t know better?

    I don’t know, I just can’t sleep and I was sifting through my mail and a Whole bunch of questions popped into my head as I read various comments. I am NOT advocating that we go out and start killing all the wolves in the area! But I’m sure this accident demands some sort of reaction by those who are supposed to protect? So what should they do?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The article says she was a runner. That doesn’t mean she was out there running, but she might have been. She was also of small stature.

      Runners in cougar and/or grizzly bear country have been taken down in the past because the running attracts their attention and can also result in a too rapid approach toward an animal. Wolves too would notice a runner.

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      What they will do is go out and kill a bunch of wolves,until there is a they can not find any more or enough time passes that other issues take precedence.
      That is just the way it is.
      Will not bring the gal back but at the same time it is not a good thing to have a predator develop into a man eater.
      That goes for bear, cougar, coyotes, tigers, lions, the list goes on.

    3. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

      I fully appreciate your thoughts, your concerns, the questions you ask, to others and to yourself. All of them are fully valid. I think however with all activities we perform, with everything we do, with life in general, there is inherent danger. Accidents happen. Disaster strikes – almost always out of the blue, when you do not expect it an when you are not prepared. We do not continuously think that something could happen, we are (we even cannot physically) be constantly “alert”. We do not make a continuous risk assessment. Sometimes we are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time – then we make headlines. I would not say “she should not have been out there jogging”. Maybe one minute earlier or later nothing would have happened. If she would have fallen victim to a car strike there would have been a headline in the news for a day or two – that´s it. Would one go out and demand to kill a few drivers in revenge? Certainly not. We are even prepared and readily, even willingly, accept that there are casualties to be expected from our mobility. That´s the price we pay. So, this was surely a very sad incident but also nothing that should be overrated. No reason for hysteria or panic. Now let´s wait what comes out: Is a carnivore likely? How likely is wolf? What happened post-mortem? Things like that.

    4. Harley Avatar

      Thank you thank you thank you for not frying me up and eating me alive for the questions and for answering them in such an informative way. Honestly? I’d hate to see wonton killing over an incident like this and my sleep deprived brain just lept to that for some reason. It would probably be really hard to identify whatever animal killed her just on sight, I believe someone said there would have to be a post mortem exam.

    5. JimT Avatar

      Ralph, that is exactly what happens here in Boulder if there is a human-predator encounter, especially cougars. There are even trails here that have big signs telling runners NOT to go them because it is known cougar habitat, but they go anyway.

      Used to be a concept in the law called Assumption of Risk, but now has morphed into Comparative Negligence. If a runner here ignores the warning signs, or doesn’t run with bear bells on, it is not considered to be intelligent behavior on their part. The runner is responsible for their own decision making. This time of year, folks don’t run in the late afternoon because the coyotes are active now, seeking dens,etc. and a runner or a dog and walker could be seen as a threat.

    6. rick Avatar

      Your question made me think about the bear attack in Utah last year where a boy was pulled from his tent and killed. If I remember correctly, in that situation the bear had been harassing campers earlier in the day and the incident had been reported but no action was taken to close the camp or remove the bear from the area. That night the boy was killed. In that situation, the family of the boy sued the Forest Service and DWR and in the case of the forest service, they won because they were not warned and the campground was not closed.

      I think this relates to your comment because of course the wildlife agencie will have to act to remove wolves because they will not want to be held responsible for inaction if another attack were to take place. Perhaps posting warnings would be sufficient to cover themselves, but if anything like this were to happen again in that area because they did not try to remove the wolves, I am sure there would be a lot of guilt, second guessing and self doubt on the part of the wildlife managers.

    7. Harley Avatar

      I think though there is way more to this than the Forest Service and the DWR covering their asses! I would think the whole point would be for this not to happen! In this case, the family was right to sue them, they lost their boy to an animal that was a documented nuisance. This wasn’t some backwoods camping experience was it? It sounds like, without doing anything but references the post, that this was a campground of some sorts. If I’m out in the backwoods, I would expect some kind of inherent danger to go along with my experience and to take the proper precautions but if you are in a designated camp site…

    8. rick Avatar


      In the Utah bear case, the family was not camped in a designated campground, but were camped close to the designated campground where the bear had been harassing other people earlier.

      You said, “I would think the whole point would be for this not to happen! In this case, the family was right to sue them, they lost their boy to an animal that was a documented nuisance.” I agree, regarding the wolves, that is why the wildlife managers need to take some action and wolves will probably be removed. Though wolves have not been conclusively linked to the death, it sounds like the majority of evidence points to wolves. While you can’t prevent every incident, if you have wolves that have attacked people in the past, I believe efforts should be made to kill those wolves. It is not a matter of retribution, but of prevention. I am not even saying that those wolves would attack another person again, but better safe than sorry.

  77. mike Avatar

    CHIGNIK LAKE: Evidence points to attack by two or three animals, troopers say
    Bob Berner said troopers told him his daughter had an iPod with her and was running toward town when the wolves attacked her about a mile and a half out. There appeared to have been a chase and struggle that lasted about 150 feet before she went down, he said Thursday by phone from Pennsylvania.
    “She was probably not aware of them until they actually lunged at her or attacked her,” Berner said. “She did the best she could, but they figured there were two of them for sure, maybe three … She put up a struggle. It was not an immediate thing.”

  78. Arne P. Ryason Avatar

    Running? With headphones in her ears? In Alaska, with that many wolves? I feel sorry for her family and for those that hired her, who neglected to teach her proper behavior around wolves.

    I’d wear a baseball cap with those small bicycle rear-view mirrors on it and a pistol around my waist if I were to take up jogging in Alaska.

    Statistically wolves are safer than crossing the street, but this stuff makes headlines. When this happens to a “white” child (not if, but when) that wanders too far from adults in camp, you won’t need a pelt bounty. Every public lands manager in wolf country needs to heed this story and post warnings at every trailhead and campground. I smell lawsuits.

    People need to learn that the wilderness is wild. Be aware and leave the damn headphones at home.

  79. Virginia Avatar

    Evidently, there were no witnesses to this attack; all they have are just assumptions made by state troopers. Will they ever know exactly what happened or are the wolves automatically to be found guilty for being in the area?

  80. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    After reading the Alaska Daily News article, and knowing more facts surrounding the circumstances of this unfortunate even, the following seem relevant:

    1. She was very small = 4’11” and fit. Probably not much over 100 lbs. Huge, huge factor.

    2. Moving fast = running – Nearly all predators key in on this prey behavior as flight to escape harm or vulnerability.

    3. No audio sensory awareness = Ipod earphones – She never knew what hit her until it was too late.

    4. Wolves unafraid of humans.

    The “perfect storm” for this event to happen.

    1. Harley Avatar

      If a wolf is unafraid of humans, if it is what some would term a ‘man killer’, is ending it’s life really something that is ‘cruel’ or uncalled for?

  81. jon Avatar

    I must admit, although some of you may disagree with me, but I don’t put much into this animals are afraid of humans claim. Maybe most, but not ALL. I think to say predatory animals are afraid of humans is incorrect. If that was really true, there would not no fatal attacks on humans at all. I know there are other animals out there known for killing people.

    1. Angela Avatar

      What I would say is:
      1. Where large carnivores are hunted, they generally avoid humans or flee when they see humans. Where they have not been hunted, or have not been exposed to humans, they may exhibit predatory behavior towards humans.
      2. When a human fatality has occurred, it can often be attributable to accidental or purposeful behavior by humans that increases the likelihood that a large carnivore might kill them; e.g., unwittingly approaching a grizzly in dense undergrowth, getting between an animal and its young, looking or acting like prey, camping in areas where bears regularly steal food from humans, cooking food next to one’s tent in bear country, etc. Many animals can be quite aggressive in defense of their young and lose their fear of larger animals and humans.

      When I worked in the Tongass in Alaska many years ago, there was a distinct difference in the behavior of black bears between those living in areas accessible to humans, and those in roadless areas where we were dropped in by helicopter. Where the black bears had likely never seen humans, they were unafraid, curious, and there was the potential of them viewing a human as prey. There were some interesting encounters between field workers and bears.

      It seems like humans in America now *expect* that they won’t be in danger from wild animals, even in areas known to harbor large carnivores. I think it is due to a combination of things, but many people are not used to being on the alert for potential predators and avoiding the types of situations that may bring them in contact with them. Many go into areas with large carnivores with no form of protection at all, whether a knife, airhorn, bear spray, or gun.

      When I was camping in southern Africa, it was the opposite. People generally understand that there is a high likelihood of getting hurt or killed by a wild animal if they are wandering around on foot or sleeping on a nice hippo-grazed lawn next to a river. Nobody would blame a lion or elephant for killing me while I was walking alone in the bush, and the animal would not be considered a man-killer for exhibiting this behavior. Fishermen in small dugouts gave these hippos and crocs a wide berth because they know how dangerous they are.

      People have lost respect for large carnivores and do not adequately modify their behavior in areas where they may be present. It is an injustice when the animal is blamed and killed in these situations.

    2. Harley Avatar

      ‘it is an injustice when the animal is blamed and killed in these situations.’

      I just can’t even put my finger on exactly what about this statement bothers me. Maybe it’s the fact that an animal did in fact kill someone. It’s not like it’s being blamed without reason. It’s possible that you don’t mean it like that either. But where humans and animals cross paths, this will continue to happen. I’ve heard alot about how small this woman was. So basically, what you are saying is that someone that small shouldn’t have been out alone to begin with. That she should have been with someone all the time, even if she didn’t have her iPod playing. Or she should have been carrying a gun everywhere she went because her small stature enticed the wolf to go after her? I don’t know, it’s almost like the woman is being blamed for the fact that now a wolf will be killed because it attacked her… And if I’ve taken the wrong spin on this, my apologies!

    3. Angela Avatar

      Harley, what I am trying to say (and obviously not very well) is that some deaths may result from careless behavior on the part of the human or factors that increase the risk of being killed. However, each instance is different and many factors may be involved. If you suddenly stumble on a grizzly bear and she kills you, killing that bear wouldn’t make anyone safer. That you can’t really blame an animal for its instinctive responses to particular stimuli.

      I am a 5’2″ woman and I’m guessing that her small size, and her running, *could* have been factors that stimulated a predator to chase her as if she were prey, and maybe if she had heard them coming, the encounter may have ended differently. I don’t know. I don’t blame her.

      I am just speculating about circumstances where predators kill humans and what factors may have contributed to these events. I believe other runners have been killed by mountain lions.

  82. rick Avatar

    Harley’s question brings up a very interesting subject that I would like peoples input on: What is the appropriate response to a wild animal attack on a human. Should the animal/animals be removed? There have been several comments about how we can’t punish wild animals for being wild animals, but is the answer to leave them alone and let them continue doing what they do? What if they attacked more than one person? Where do you draw the line? Is relocation the answer? There are many problems associated with relocating animals. What if there were a lion in a California Park that had attacked a person? Should you close the park and say “We have moved into its territory. The animals were here first”? Also, should there be a different response for urban or wildland attacks? I am interested in what people think about this subject.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      There is a limit of 10 wolves a day the area where the women was killed and hunting season is open on them now. So what is the big deal by killing several wolves? The land surrounding the village is probably native land and let’s let the locals and Alaska State Troppers handle the current situation.

      I have worked and lived with the Alaska natives several times and they will shoot anything and time. If a wolf will bring a $100 a pelt then they will shoot it.

    2. rick Avatar

      Elk, that is a very good point about the hunting season and I don’t have a problem with locals killing wolves during their season.

      In this case, there is a season for wolves, but rather than having a possibly disjointed effort of locals attempting to remove the wolves, should wildlife professionals make a concerted effort to remove them or do people here think they should be left alone?

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      After about 30 years, haven’t we kind of worked this out for grizzly bear maulings? These being much more frequent than wolf attacks.

      Injury or death from a bear when it has broken into a structure, or is aggressive unprovoked, repeated . . . these result in a “management removal.”

      Running into a bear in the brush or berry patch, lack of caution retrieving a kill from a human hunt, pursuit of the bear, etc. result in a news story such as, “authorities did nothing to the bear because its behavior was normal and to be expected.” We also tolerate a grizzly taking a few cows every summer on public range where the cattle are turned out, but not herded.

    4. rick Avatar


      Thanks for the comment. What you said makes sense, with the most appropriate action being context specific. I think I was to broad in my original questions.

  83. jon Avatar

    Angela, I don’t believe that to be true at all. The animals who are known to be responsible for killing humans are hunted and they still kill humans. I really have no idea where people get this notion that all wild predatory animals are shy or afraid of humans. If a lion is not afraid of a crocodile or hippo, why would it be afraid of a human? A human has a gun and is capable of killing it, but so is a hippo and a crocodile. When incidents like that happen, the animals shouldn’t be blamed.

    1. Angela Avatar

      Jon, I said “generally,” not “all” and that’s just been my experience with some North American carnivores. I wasn’t trying to make the point that large carnivores won’t kill humans; yes, that happens. There are numerous animals in southern Africa that are not shy and capable of killing humans. My main point was that, when in an area where large carnivores are present, people should be cautious, alert, prepared, and avoid doing things that may put them at risk. This woman was apparently unaware that there was a risk, nevertheless, several factors put her at higher risk: being a very tiny person, running, and not able to hear. If it was wolves, it was an extremely rare event based on the historical record.

  84. Wolveswoman Avatar

    I was looking at the Wisconsin DNR web site the other day……. I was curious how much our the wolves were actually depredating on livestock and pets. The way it looks if you take the dollars spent on damage and divide it by the number of wolves each year, you come up with anywhere from $250 to $400 per wolf per year….. That number worries me. We have 33000 Black bears in Wisconsin, if they did $400 worth of damage each, that would be 12.3 million dollars per year????? Please take action against the Wisconsin DNR for publishing such rubbish. We are promoting this great animal & they would not do that kind of damage. Thanks for your help in this manner!

    Beth S

  85. jon Avatar

    True Angela, it is a rare event if wolves did indeed kill that woman, but the problem I have is people thinking that animals are scared or shy of humans. I don’t know where exactly this notion that animals fear us came from. Certainly, this is possible with some animals, but not all as you already mentioned. There has been cases where hunters were attacked and killed by bears. If you go into a grizzly bear’s home and that bear kills you, should it be put down? I don’t believe so. It seems though when people are at fault, the animals are the ones that have to pay with their lives. I understand this is the way it is, but it’s not right in the least bit.

  86. jon Avatar

    Angela, I did some digging. It appears this woman was a hunter and she has a blog talking about wolves in Alaska, so I assume she knew about the dangers.

  87. NW Avatar


    Of course wolves have fun when they kill things. Why would any animal not be expected to enjoy their life and the things that they do to survive? Evolution guarantees that good feelings accompany adaptive behavior. But the very rarity of this attack means that the wolves in this area need to be exterminated. They are replaceable. We don’t have an “innocent until proven guilty” system for wildlife, and we never should. Humans may be animals, but we have developed self-awareness and moral codes that don’t exist among other species. (OK, so I don’t know much about whales). We can’t start confusing human justice with wildlife management. Just kill the wolves in the area lest somebody else gets attacked. This incident should have nothing to do with the ongoing controversy about predator management in Alaska. Unfortunately, though, it already has.

  88. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    It seems like this has been a bit over-analyzed. The risk of being attacked by a wolf in Alaska ranks just slightly above being bitten by a rattlesnake in Alaska. Candice sounds like she was a great person and I’m sure some people she knew in Chignik feel very badly about having not strongly warned her. But, how would they have gauged the risk based on only one documented incident of its type in North America? We all learn to guard against or hedge the risks as we perceive them in our particular habitat and take measures accordingly, be it the African bush or the south side of Chicago. Some risks we might take, like walking along a dimly lit street, but not others like driving without a seat belt or crossing heavy traffic without a light. The risk in jogging outside the village might have been assessed differently later in the spring. Chignik is one of the richest and most closely managed sockeye systems of its geographic size in the world. As such, it has a very dense brown bear population and you can bump into them any time they’re out of the den, even in the villages at the lake and lagoon. However, while wolves wandering near towns are a well-known threat to dogs, actual attacks on humans are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.

    I live between a couple of small salmon streams 2 miles from town and the road. There are only black bears on the island and rarely a wolf or two. My wife, kids and I have all walked the beach and trail to and from town day and night for years and just don’t think much about bears or other predators, even though sometimes we push a bear out of its fishing hole crossing the creek. If a black bear did one of us in, I don’t think we would come under much local post-mortem criticism for not being armed (I do believe the animal’s behavior would be viewed as abnormal and dangerous and an attempt made to remove it as a potential threat to others). On the other hand, we always wear floatation gear when skiffing to or from home and I attach myself to the kill switch with a lanyard, whether calm and sunny or dark and windy. The odds of hitting a whale or big drifting debris after dark may be low, but it just makes sense to take those particular precautions given the history of frequent, terrible boating accidents in this area. One of my neighbors capsized without a float coat and managed to climb up on the bottom of his skiff. Another neighbor, not wearing floatation, handed groceries to his visiting parents on shore and took the boat out to a buoy where he lost his balance stepping into a punt. His parents heard a splash and he was never seen again. We all hedge risks we perceive to be most probable and important but can’t guard against everything and still have a life.

    1. Harley Avatar

      I agree. This is being over analyzed. But since this is such a ‘rare’ occurance, then it needs to be taken care of. Immediately. Not waited upon for the sympathy of the wolf or wolves. If a wolf or wolves have become that bold, what’s to stop them from coming up to the very edge of a town and snatch, oh let’s say a child as they are running playing tag? I’m not one for panicked reactions but it seems to be agreed upon here that if an animal displays this sort of behavior, it is likely to do it again. Do deer or elk come up to eat out of our hands? No. They fear being hunted. I’m not saying wipe out all the wolves. But perhaps they need to be reminded of that fear as well?

  89. NW Avatar

    SEAK Mossback, Thank you for your words about this. I live in the interior, a very different ecosystem. Tragedy is tragedy. I don’t know how I’d react if my friend or relative was killed. We need to remember our human values, and we need to remember that those values don’t apply to other species.

  90. jon Avatar

    Actually Harley, you are wrong about that. There are instances where deer do come up and eat out of your hand.

    1. Harley Avatar

      Which is also a rare case and kinda distracts from the point but ok, we can go with that. When deer lose their fear, they will come right up to you and eat out of your hand.

  91. jon Avatar

    Harley, you have to accept that not ALL animals are scared of humans. Given the chance and circumstances, any animal can attack a human.

    1. Harley Avatar

      I do accept that. Look at family pets that attack. All I’m saying is when they attack, something needs to be done in order to prevent it from happening again. That’s all. I am NOT advocating senseless killing here!

  92. Harley Avatar

    Ok… let me try another perspective here, one that perhaps I’m more familiar with.
    There’s a drive by shooting on the south side of Chicago. An innocent young child who has no gang affiliation gets killed because she was outside, playing in her front yard. Do we say, bad mother, she should have known better than to let her child play outside on the south side of Chicago where gangs are Nortorious for drive bys? Or do we say, this gang crap has got to stop…
    (yeah, I know, these are animals, not humans, just putting that out there so you all know I know the distinction…)

  93. Si'vet Avatar

    I see the medical examiners report is out she was most likely killed by animal’s “wolves”. Let the circus begin. There is no doubt going to be lot’s of ready shoot aim on this issue. As a hunter, the wolf vs humans conflicts are rare, as are all wildlife vs human tragedies, so.

  94. jon Avatar


    Even the woman’s father doesn’t blame the wolves for what they did.

    Bob Berner said is daughter was enjoying Alaska, doing what she wanted to do, and that he’s had many years of great memories with her. The attack didn’t change his perception of wolves, he said.

    “They’re just doing what wolves do,” Berner said. “Their nature happened to kill my daughter, but I don’t have any anger towards wolves.”

  95. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Note that I just added a new article about this death at the top of the post.

    Reporters are not doing their job of digging for facts and asking questions.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Your lead article on this was written by James Halpin, of the Alaska Daily News, shortly after the reporting of the incident on March 11.

      Here is his follow-up article AFTER the Coroner’s autopsy on March 12. which includes the following statement AK State Troopers.

      ++The state Department of Fish and Game still wants to conduct DNA testing to help study the incident, but troopers are convinced it was a wolf attack, troopers director Col. Audie Holloway said.

      “We are as close to 100 percent certain as you can be,” Holloway said. ++


      Halpin’s phone number is listed at the end of the article, for an ambitious soul who needs more about his research.

      Certainly there will continue to be doubt until DNA tests can be done. One can only presume the AK Coroner’s Office and investigating agencies are cued to the skepticism and controversey that surrounded the Carnegie death, that will carry this investigation in a parallel path for doubters.

      Reporters need to ask questions, but will there ever be enough evidence to satisfy skeptics who think wolves will not attack or kill humans in North America, when in fact they do elsewhere in the world, and there is a cloudy history of such behavior before wolves were extirpated at least in the US, and records may not have been very complete?

      While some ask why, others will ask why not? What is it in the make-up of a wolf (or wolves in a pack) that would prevent them from attacking a human? Other mammal predators do it. In the fish world, sharks do it, when mistaking a surfboard for a seal. Domestic dogs do it, and because of shear numbers it is reported regularly.

      It is about predator instinctive response and prey behavior – flight to avoid the predator. That is why a cougar will take mountain biker off his bike. It has happened a number of times.

      Wasn’t there a young wolf that chased motorcycles and bicyclists in Yellowstone last summer? Non-lethal deterrent action was required by Park rangers in that situation.

      Here is a paper written by Dr. Valeius Geist, who some here love to hate. He had a summer place on Vancouver Island for many years and has now retired there. Readers can draw their own conclusions, but he talks about close encounters with wolves testing humans as prey around his home (I know I have seen this posted on another more neutral website, but could not find it. Sorry, but the content is still the same.)


      And, here is Dr. Geist’s commentary on the Carnegie incident and investigation.


      Last, can anyone give a verifiable scientific theory why wolves in a group would not attack and kill a small running human in the wolves’ habitat? And, yes I know proving a negative is difficult.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Wilderness Muse,

      I am not a skeptic. I have just wanted to see a proper investigation carried out, which I don’t think was the case with Kenton Carnegie.

      I have also been irritated at reporters who report rumors such as the wolves are hanging around so close folks don’t dare come out of their houses, but, on the other hand, a search for wolves to shoot finds none present.

      Of course, wolves can, have, and rarely will attack humans. Every other animal of any size attacks people, why shouldn’t wolves?

      For at least 5 years now, I have posted the study the Fear of Wolves many times, which describes many violent wolf encounters with humans, although very few that are spontaneous predation. It seems like no one ever reads it.

      Regarding wolves in Vancouver Island, there were few to none. The island was inherently unsuitable for them due to a lack of prey base. It isn’t surprising there were some problems when they appeared, including an attack on a hiker camped with a group of 7 others on the Pacific Coast trail where the wolves had learned to identify humans with food handouts (described in the the Fear of Wolves, section 8.3).

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      In addition to what Ralph has just posted read pg.408-409 of this.

      The person refereed to is Will”I found a cash cow” Graves

    4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Thanks Jeff E for the additional reference.

      . . . . More on Vancouver Island wolves. I posted this earlier. They are wolf/dog hybrids, making them inherently more likely to approach humans, and unstable (unpredictable) in their behavior toward humans, although some think they are basically wild wolves.


    5. Harley Avatar

      Please explain to the moronic person from the suburbs who compared this to criminal activity how the reporters were not doing their job and being irresponsible in the LA Times article?

      Jeff E –
      I wasn’t comparing what the wolves did to human criminal activity, sorry, guess that was a very poor analogy. What I was trying to point out is the people who feel that because a woman irresponsibly let herself get killed by wolves, now the wolves have to die. And no, no one came out and used those words, that’s the feel I interpreted from comments made here.
      I will reiterate what I’m trying to get across here. If an animal kills, if it tastes human flesh, if it experiences how damn easy it was to kill, it is more likely to try again. And because of that, it should be taken care of. I believe there are documented cases of this with other predators, perhaps not in recent times with wolves. I know of cases in India. If a tiger kills a human, they go after the tiger, if though it’s an endangered species. And yes, I know there are differences between big cats and big dogs. I honestly am not a moron though perhaps you are tending to think that I am.

      This is my last input on this blog. I’ve tried to be respectful. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. My bad.

    6. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Jeff E,

      I had not seen this solicited comment from FWS to these professors at the Acadamy of Sciences in Russia. These were in response to assertions of Will Graves in his comments on the 1993 EIS on the NRM wolf reintroduction. What is interesting is that the Graves letter does not appear to be published in the Final EIS.

      I was able to quickly locate on-line what appears to be the Graves letter dated October 3, 1993. Definitely not a scholarly work, in fact downright pathetic on authority for claims made, and void of specific literature citations of any kind to support the assertions contained in it.


      What I also found especially interesting is that these two Russian professors, not doubt autorities in their field, were trolling for a grant to answer the questions posed. I guess any good scientist would be on the hunt for another grant.

      [I have not read Graves’ subequent book on the “Wolves of Russia: Anxiety through the Ages.” Sure hope he did a better job documenting whatever he had to say there]

      What I found even more interesting is the essay by Dr. Mech, in the EIS, which follows the correspondence about Graves’ comments. This is a reprint of an article which appeared in Audobon magazine in March 1990. Some fascinating stories summarized here about wolf-human (and dog) interactions, and well worth the read (EIS, p. 410-412).

      Mech even suggests North American wolves are not as dangerous to humans as Eurasian wolves, but notes (wisely) that there is variability among individual wolves and packs, AND closes with this comment……

      “Thus one can never say never when
      discussing the possibility of wolf attacks on humans.
      Nevertheless, the weight of evidence indicates that humans
      have little to fear from healthy wild wolves.” (EIS, p.412)

    7. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      This “letter” of graves is referred to fairly often by the anti’s with the assertion that “it was never addressed”.
      Oh well,
      As far as wolves being more or less dangerous according to where they are from I would look at the history of Europe / Russia as to the warfare that was conducted.
      There were thousands upon thousands of people killed sometimes in a single day for hundreds upon hundreds of years. How do you think a great deal of the corpses were disposed of? Burning, burying when there was time and if someone gave a shit. If not?
      And more recently(and historically as the Tsar’s were no pushovers in this department) in Russia. Where did all the millions of victims of Stalin and the Gulags end up in Siberia at 40 below with the ground frozen solid for how many feet.
      Do you think maybe there is some learned behavior going on?
      Again this link that I posted earlier today at 2:20 or so. I don’t think it would be too great of a leap to change lion’s to wolves

  96. Moose Avatar

    They have had long and generous hunting and trapping seasons on wolves there for some time…I thought hunting wolves would “put the fear of man in them.”

    1. Harley Avatar

      Well it’s obvious I don’t have any idea wtf I’m talking about so I’ll just leave it all up to you ‘experts’ out there to hammer it all out and I’ll just go quietly back to my urban jungle where I so obviously belong much better…

  97. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Troopers unsure if deatho was before or after attack???

    A person doesn’t bruise after the heart stops pumping. In my area of patrol we had a lone bacpacker who was pulled out of a tent and eaten. The park told her Swedish parents it was a quick death. It wasn’t. She had bruises on the sides of her hands. You see a bear holds down their prey and then eats you alive…starting with the choice morsels first…the stomach. Thus the bruising on her hands.

    The investigation ended with the rangers doing the assessment. Sh e was put in two garbage bags so there wasn’t much discussion of the possibility of other foul play. It was in remote country so the odds were it wasn’t…but in a place close to the road like in this Alaskan death there is further need to investigate other than say wolves were in the area. Hopefully they at least looked to see if there was bruising on damaged areas before death.

  98. mike Avatar

    The Coroner has said she died of bite wounds to her neck, so it’s not really the state troopers having the final decision.

    “She was bleeding as she was being moved, being drug, and the damage to the throat,” Holloway said. “The medical examiner concluded that she wasn’t killed by any other method and that the damage to the throat was severe. There were animal bite marks on the throat.

  99. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Good lord.
    the simple fact is that the woman was killed, most likely by wolves. The surprise is that it has not happened more frequently in Alaska. (Read Barry Lopez’s book)
    I do not think any one wants to lessen the tragedy but the fact is that humans have/are/ and will be killed by everything from ants to Orcas.

    One I found Interesting is the recent shark attack off of South Africa. The shark was so big it consumed an adult male in two bites. Done.

    At the same time I don’t think any one(with any intelligence) wants to have a predator develop into a man killer as is seen in other parts of the world. One that specifically targets humans. For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_maneaters
    While it may not be usual behavior for a wild animal, it is certainly not uncommon.
    What is moronic is trying to compare this with human criminal behavior or some sort of worldwide conspiracy as has been done here and elsewhere.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      some related material to consider. I found this very interesting.

  100. jon Avatar

    Wild predatory animals will go after the easiest prey and sometimes that is humans. It is much easier for a lion to kill a human than it is a buffalo. We are not exempt from being killed in nature.

  101. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Thanks for posting the link on Vancouver Island wolves. From reading the paper, however, it isn’t very clear that there is much if any lasting legacy from the interbreeding that took place since the more recent movement of wolves onto the island. “Genetic data show that Vancouver Island wolves are distinct from dogs and thus should be recognized as a population of wild wolves.” Certainly, interbreeding is a potential concern with very few wolves and stray dogs present, but wolves are apparently fairly abundant now. In recent years, there have been a number of reports of wolves on Admiralty Island, much to the excitement of wolf enthusiasts (deer hunters – not so much). There’s no known fossil record of them an presumably no presence since the last ice age, although they could get there from a wolf-inhabited part of the mainland in a couple of modest swims. The town of Angoon is a source of stray/feral dogs. A local bear guide (also wildlife biologist) watched and photographed a “wolf” and dog together at a carcass for a good part of an evening on a part of the island far from any settlement. Interbreeding in a situation like that seems quite possible so maybe we’ll end up with the population of “monster wolves” Darimont warns about.

    Dr. Geist’s description of the aggressive behavior and attacks on livestock in his Vancouver Island neighborhood are admittedly startling as was the attack on the camper at nearby Vargas Island. However, there are other towns, Prince Rupert and Petersburg are examples, where they have come into town, apparently to pursue deer that are there to get away from them. They soon begin to supplement with dogs, but seldom directly bother people. Wolves began killing dogs that were walking near their owners on the Butze Rapids trail in Prince Rupert, so a sign was put up to keep your dog on a leash. Shortly afterward, a friend was walking the trail when he heard screams up ahead and ran to find a very upset woman who had her Labrador killed right on the end of the leash. The dog was killed very quickly and she dropped the leash and backed away, totally ignored by the wolves. The trail was then closed and a local conservation officer told me the wolves finally moved on “when people stopped bringing by little tethered treats”. People in Prince Rupert seemed to take it all amazingly calmly with little or no fireworks in the media. In Petersburg, people see wolves chasing deer right through town. A friend was sitting in his hot tub after dark when a wolf tiptoed past him down the driveway and looked in his neighbor’s window where his was watching TV. Whitehorse is another example where they’ve come right in and killed dogs. Wolves are intelligent predators that will look for options, especially in times of stress, and I don’t think we can completely discount Dr. Geist’s argument that the reason there have been so few attacks on people in and around communities is because wolves that come in regularly and show worrisome behavior are usually dealt with quickly.

    Having said that, the city of Juneau and an odd-ball lone wolf set an amazing record of getting along for 6 years. He hasn’t been seen since September, I believe. He was starting to show some age and I suspect he was killed by the radio collared local pack that has a vast territory including several river valleys and ice fields and has usually been farther north but spent more time recently in this area. He had a huge group of fans who were just sure somebody was going to shoot or trap him but they never did. Most like to think he finally went off and joined a pack. Here are some of local photographer John Hyde’s best photos of him.

    He’s been accused of killing a couple of small dogs but never went far enough to get done in, although for a couple of months people thought he had been after a couple of idiots shot a black wolf up the Taku River out of season and, discovering their legal problem, dumped the carcass next to a road where some of his most ardent fans went jogging!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Thanks for information from B.C. and the Yukon about wolves and dogs.
      Wolves, of course, routinely kill dogs wherever they encounter them. That has happened in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming from the start.
      The occasional exception is lone wolves. In the latter case sometimes partnerships and mating develops.

      So the problem of hybrids is greatest where the wolf population is low.

      Hybrids are also a problem wherever people purchase them, find they can’t deal with them and so release them in the countryside hoping they will make a home for themselves. Most just die, but not all of them.

      I’m not sure what to think of Vancouver Island wolves. Here is a recent abstract of their genetics from a group of authors I regard as more objective than Dr. Guist.

      The genetic legacy of extirpation and re-colonization in Vancouver Island wolves, by Violeta Muñoz-Fuentes, Chris T. Darimont, Paul C. Paquet, and Jennifer A. Leonard. Conservation Genetics, Sept. 2009

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      Thanks for the youtube post on Romeo. A couple of the pictures seemed familiar (great shots in fact for the whole video tribute). If I recall correctly there was an article in Alaska Magazine on Romeo a couple of years back. Great story, great tribute and apparently an unfortunate ending for Romeo. The tribute suggests he was killed by hunters about August 2006, if I read the material correctly.


      Ralph, t

      The Vancouver Island wolf issue is not easy to understand. Certainly the genetic problems following extirpation up to the late 1960 and maybe very early 1970’s had the potential for problems. Sort of an Isle Royale on a grand scale, but instead of in-breeding, we get the dog link for a very short period and in inconsequential numbers. Sad commentary on the biological consequences potential, which appears to have passed without major lasting effects.

      The wolves are apparently back in larger numbers throughout Vancouver Island (preumably excluding the urbanized areas on the south end), impacting deer populations as they once did. This apparently requires some control of wolf populations.

      I just pulled up the BC – Vancouver Island hunting regulations for 2009-2010. Interesting information here:

      -Bag limit for wolves is 3 per hunter in all hunting units on the Island (if I read the regs. correctly).

      Season is Sept 12, 2009 – March 31, 2010, then starts againg April 1, 2010 running until June 15, 2010. Then I presume the new, but not yet published regulations will take it from there. Notice they are running it through the birthing period.

      It appears there is no quota, but wolf kills must be reported to authorities within 30 days. That would seem to suggest they are tracking it against some harvest cap number.

      Interesting, that this is for the most part a closed ecosystem (though it appears wolves have come from the mainland on their own to repopulate. Don’t know if there are continuing genetic problems here, but maybe the article you quote sheds light on this. Too bad we can only see the abstract, and not the whole article.
      – – – – – –
      Unfortunately, WordPress sent this into the spam box, probably because of its hyperlinks. It does this at times despite me checking the option to allow up to three hyperlinks. I hope it isn’t too late. Webmaster

    3. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      [It seems my earlier comment was lost in cyberspace, or something, so I will try to recreate them. My apologies if both appear.}

      Thanks for the post on Romeo. A very nice tribute, and great shots by a talented photographer. It seems I remember some of the photos from an article that appeared in Alaska Magazine about two years ago. The tribute suggests he was killed illegally by a couple of idiots August 2006, which seems to conflict with your recollection.



      The wolves on Vancouver Island seem to be pretty resilient, notwithstanding their virtual extirpation up thru the late 1960’s, and subsequent recovery. I envisioned something like a giant version of Isle Royale, but instead of inbreeding with each other as is the case there, the dog genetics came into play for a very short while. This small scale genetic anomoly is long gone, if I understand the first Pacquet et al paper you cited. Natural repopulation from wolves swimming from the mainland has things pretty much headed in a good state genetically. It would be good to review second paper “The genetic legacy of extirpation and re-colonization in Vancouver Island wolves” which you cited, instead of just the abstract. Anybody have access to it?

      The consensus appears to be that the population of wolves has increased substantially to the point that the Crown seems to think their numbers need control for better balance with deer population which is declining in some areas (This arugment sounds familiar).

      I just pulled up the BC, Vancouver Island hunting regulations for 2009-2010. They have a wolf season that appears to include all 15 game management units on the Island. Here is the website:


      Key provisions ( I think I am reading this correctly, and if not, please somebody correct my error):

      -Three wolf limit per hunter.

      -Season runs continuously, Sept 12, 2009 thru March 31, 2010 then runs April 1 thru June 12, when presumably the new 2011 regulations will be finalized. (**Note: hunting continues through the birthing period).

      – Wolves taken must be reported within 30 days (so prsumably they are tracking against a number).

    4. mike Avatar

      Wilderness Muse

      Here’s the link to the “entire” 2nd paper that you asked for.

      It was kind of hidden away…told you I was good at finding stuff.

  102. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Wilderness Muse,
    The article you read may have been written during the period when people thought the dead black wolf was Romeo. The wolf was discovered in late July and I believe Romeo showed up again in September. Meanwhile, some his fans put up a reward for information and eventually an anonymous tip was called in to the Fish & Wildlife Protection hotline (reward was never collected) and the guys admitted to shooting and dumping the Taku River wolf.

    I also checked the Vancouver Island deer regulations that appear to have loosened some since I last looked at them maybe 10 years ago. Three month rifle season, 2 bucks also 1 doe in a 3 month season in most areas (I seem to remember a 10 day for doe season before). Things can’t have gotten too much worse for deer despite 4 major predators (cougars, black bears, wolves, humans) and highly fragmented habitat. It used to be possible to access harvest data and I remember Vancouver Island ranking pretty poorly (over 12 days/deer). I noticed a warning (both for safety and to avoid mistaking species) that grizzly bears have recently appeared on the north end of the island.

    In Southeast Alaska, we have about every form and combination of regulation of deer populations (even cougars moving from most of the river valleys out of Canada). In some areas, including mostly the big northern islands, predation is very low but deer are well-regulated by periodic deep snow and starvation – it has apparently been thus for 5,000 years or more. On islands south of Sumner Strait with far less snow, they are also found in good numbers with substantial wolf and bear predation. On the Charlottes (Haida Gwaii) where they were introduced around the 1920s, and snow and predation are both low, they are considered ecological pests and have a 9 month season and bag limit of 15. Extensive research has been conducted on the problem and wolf introduction has been considered with estimates the islands could support over 500 wolves. Deer are suspected responsible in extinction of the unique Dawson’s Caribou in the 1920’s along with contributing to many other ecological problems on this biologically rich refuge from the last glaciation. The native community has come to appreciate them though – little suitcase deer that are very tasty.

    One tricky area is the interface in central Southeast, around Petersburg where deer contend with a combination of deep snow, wolves and in some areas a very dense black bear population. Much of that area, particularly Kuiu and Kupreanof Islands, toppled into a predator pit in the winter of 1968-1969 and has remained there since, despite many years of draconian hunting regulations (18 years of complete closure around Petersburg from 1975-1992). The 1977 ocean regime shift only reinforced things with a huge increase in salmon further fueling the black bear population, which has been estimated at about 4/square mile on Kuiu. Oddly, even with deer at an extremely low level on Kuiu, wolves are commonly seen, often feeding on salmon, and scat analyses show black bears to be part of their diet.

    Predator control? I’ve never heard anybody seriously suggest it in Southeast Alaska. The only effective method ever employed in this terrain (late-1940s to statehood) was dropping strychnine-laced chunks of seal meat (a wolf’s favorite food in all the world) by airplane on ice-covered lakes. That’s off the table. People in some towns take heavy advantage of liberal hunting and trapping seasons, but to little apparent effect on the wolf population. Kuiu Island has become a world renowned destination for guided non-resident black bear hunters – so don’t suggest reducing bears to benefit deer. In this rich region, there are many tasty alternative protein sources practically at arm’s reach from both land and sea. And – if you really want venison and have a decent boat, you can go to Admiralty or one of the other islands where deer are abundant.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse


      We have discussed on this forum the salmon eating wolves of Coastal BC. The State of Washington is currently putting together its Wolf Management Plan. The state wants to repopulate some uncontiguous habitat areas through relocation of migrating wolves from the north (BC mainland) and east (ID), as density gets higher. However,some advocates have suggested introducing apparently smaller Coastal salmon eating wolves on the Olympic Peninsula, including Olympic National Park. Not sure how the smaller wolves would do with keeping elk out of riparian areas, which is the goal of trophic cascade scientists.

      Since you seem well informed on Coastal wolves, what are your thoughts about wolf size in the various areas you have discussed above. For comparison, the NRM wolves, all with genetic origin in interior BC are roughly 100 lbs for females, and 110 for males. And, the Great Lakes wolves in MN, WI and MI, are about 60 lbs for females and 75 for males, with some as small as 50 lbs.

      Can you offer insight on the variability of size of the Coastal AK and BC wolves, maybe even including those in the area of Chignik Lake (way out on the AK Peninsula), that killed the school teacher?

  103. Dawn Avatar

    The girl was only 32 yrs old, that sucks . No one right now knows what happened , so lets see . Here in Jackson on Saturday, oh yeah , wolf rally on the town square . This is being sponsor by outfitters who say and I quote from the paper, Wyoming will have no sport hunting in 2 yrs if we don’t do something about this wolf . Of course they mean elk . What is really funny is they didn’t put the time of the rally . But the outfitters expect hundreds to show up, everyone has the right to say their piece, but can you please back it up with facts about the wolf and elk population . It is 2010 right ?

    1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Dawn it is 2010 but when you talk to some of these people it might as well be 1910.

  104. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Wilderness Muse,
    As far as weights, I remember seeing some sample information years ago that I think averaged around 73 lbs. for females and 87 lbs. for males and I believe there were a few well over 100 lbs. – so intermediate to the sizes you described. However, I can’t remember where in the region they came from and imagine it could vary somewhat geographically. I have no information about wolf weights around Chignik.

    As far as elk, both Roosevelt and Rocky Mountain elk were introduced years ago on Etolin Island. There are also blacktails on the island. I know elk were killed by wolves during the early intensive monitoring period but don’t know if they particularly targeted elk. Dave Person, ADF&G Ketchikan, is an excellent contact for any specific and up-to-date information on wolf sizes, their prey, etc. and could offer very informed answers and opinions on your questions. His phone and e-mail address is available on the State of Alaska website employee directory. He’s conducted research for many years on wolves and wolf-deer-habitat relationships, mostly on Prince of Wales and surrounding islands.

    I’m unsure how critical it would be where the wolves were from. They are generalists, as Ralph pointed out in an earlier thread. Isle Royale wolves, small though they may be, seem able to kill moose when that’s their best option.

    Certainly, not only coastal wolves fish for salmon. About 125 air miles behind Juneau is high plateau country that, being in the rain shadow, is some of the driest in B.C. with moose, caribou, goats, stone sheep, etc. I spent quite a bit of time up there in the late 80s on fisheries work, mostly on the Nahlin River (most interior tributary of the Taku). Wolves appeared abundant, although I think they were concentrated in August and September where we were – on the river. They were both fishing for salmon and hunting beavers. I watched a pair close in on spawning sockeyes in a coordinated fashion, first circling into positions just outside the fish’s panic range. Fish only seem to be able to respond to a threat from one direction at a time and usually break either directly upstream or downstream. These wolves converged on individual fish from both directions, with and against the current. I read a description of wolves fishing for salmon in coastal B.C. a few years ago that described only solitary pursuit, usually from downstream, but the difference may be that coastal pinks and chums are usually packed in densely and much more easily caught that way than scattered kings, cohos and sockeyes in somewhat larger water. I suspect other wolves were just over the hills on the Teslin, another drainage further from the coast, putting similar moves on kings that had come 2,300 miles up the Yukon.

    The closest extant wolves, ecologically and perhaps genetically, to what was on the Olympic Peninsula may be on the southern to central B.C. coast, the same population that re-colonized or bolstered whatever remaining population was on Vancouver Island. I don’t know how effective they are on elk, but imagine there’s a local wildlife biologist who could give you a good idea. Our local coastal mainland wolves seem to spend a lot of time hunting goats in some pretty rugged places, even when you’d think there are easier options. Perhaps goat eaters would suit well, as I seem to remember reading that Olympic Park has too many of them?

  105. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Thanks for the information. I had intended to respond earlier. The general impression of most, myself included, is that wolves prefer elk to deer if present in their range and given a choice. But certainly, if the deer are easier, for whatever reason, the wolf will take the opportunistic, least risk, option. Wolves, to this point, have apparently not selected much, if at all, for elk in the deer-abundant Great Lakes region states, in the few areas where elk have been reintroduced in the last few years. Moose are also preferred.

    As for Olympic NP, I do not know whether the non-indiginous goats are a problem these days. I should check with my sources. A trapping/extermination effort was undertaken a few years back and that thinned them down considerably (goat eating wolves would be a short term menu in my view, as they have lots of available habitat inhospitable to wolves). I took a twelve day trip through the heart of the Olympic N.P. two years ago, most of it above treeline and surprisingly saw only three goats the entire time, even spending several hours glassing for them. Rain and fog was abundant a few days, but occasionally you will see them at closer distances, looming mysteriously out of the fog, even just a few feet away. They are pests at times in some areas – and will eat or carry off anything available, unattended clothing (I actually had one walk off with a pair of my socks in Chicago Basin, Colorado a few years back, but that is another story). Actually saw more black bears in ONP, even several doing long-distance glacier travel, with no apparent objective in mind. Curiosity?

    The thought is if wolves are reintroduced to ONP they would likely stay mostly in the major river valleys near the Roosevelt elk, and when salmon spawn in late summer, it would be a virtual feast for them for several months. Some of the elk get up pretty high in the alpine valleys through summer and into the rut in September, so the elk being in prime shape going into late fall would probably be left alone for awhile until the salmon carcasses on gravel bars are washed away.

  106. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Here’s a portion of an ADF&G press release today on the Chignik wolves. A second news release said microbiologists studied the brains of the two wolves killed and determined they did not have rabies.
    “Two days of searching the Chignik drainage for wolves and/or wolf sign has resulted in the collection of two wolves that match the description of the wolves that killed Candice Berner. No other wolf tracks or wolf sign were identified in the area despite of relatively good search conditions and the persistent efforts of a very experienced crew. Recent storm activity produced fresh snow for the response crew to search and monitor the entire Chignik Drainage and sections of the Pacific coastline that were connected to the Chignik Drainage by low passes. Track sightability and identification were excellent during the majority of the search period.

    On March 15, ADFG staff killed 2 wolves in the Chignik Drainage approximately 5 miles west of Chignik Lake. The wolves killed match the description of the wolves that killed Candice Berner on March 8. Many witnesses stated that there were 2 sets of wolf tracks on the road where Candice was found. Two wolves were observed that evening (one a light grey and the other a dark gray), and the wolves were described as approximately the same size and in poor condition. Tracks at the scene suggested that one wolf track was larger than the other.

    ADF&G Biologist Lem Butler stated: “Based on statements of eye-witness observers, observations made at the location of Candice Berner’s death, physical characteristics of the two wolves killed, and the proximity of the two wolves to the location of Candice Berner’s death, I conclude that it is highly likely that these wolves killed Candice Berner.”

    Mr. Butler also stated: “After conducting a 2 day search for other wolf sign and finding none, I also conclude that there is a low likelihood of finding additional wolves in the near future if the search is continued.”

    ADF&G will discontinue the current search while maintaining an elevated vigilance for wolf activity in the Chignik Lake area. Department staff will remain in close contact with local residents to monitor wolf sightings and activities in the Chignik Lake area, and may conduct a second search of the area in early April if further action is warranted.

    Note: Department staff will be in the area conducting capture and survey work during early April. Given the availability of experienced staff and suitable aircraft, a secondary search of the Chignik Lake area can be conducted at minimal cost.”

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Seak Mossback,

      Thanks for the followup, giving details. So that’s probably it — a small woman taken down by a pair of starving wolves.

  107. Hattie Avatar

    The LA Times article about the sad death of the teacher in Alaska mentions she was jogging while listening to her IPod. The other article mentions concerns in the local community about recent wolf behavior that this new teacher would not have known about.

    It’s frustrating, and sad, to read about the tragic death of someone like this when I think she might have avoided becoming a victim to the wolf/bear/animal attack had she had more information about local concerns and if she had thought through more carefully her plans to jog and listen to her IPod at the same time. Not wise in an area where wolves and bears roam nearby. Not wise in the middle of any American city where human violence can overtake anyone of us far more easily when we have overloaded our protective sensory signals with music. And jogging looks like prey behavior to any of the large predators.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of human life. Education continues to be important for us all…to understand the predators and to know how to protect ourselves

  108. JimT Avatar

    And she had taken away her best defense…her hearing.

    I suspect all the previous talk of habituation is mitigated by the fact that the wolves were in poor condition and probably starving. If they had other prey, I suspect they would have been less likely to attack a human.

    Ralph, isn’t it standard practice, or perhaps it should be, to send remains of alleged wolf kills to the Interior Forensic lab? From what I understand, they are among the best in the country.

    1. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      The lingering question is why were the wolves starving and why did they not move to an area where prey would be more abundant?

      A companion question, if they would/could not move to another area with better food availability, is if not this young woman, then what (yes, or who) would they eat?

  109. jon Avatar

    WM, wolves starve all the time. Hunting for wolves is not easy. It takes hard work on their part to capture their prey. Humans are much easier to kill for wolves than other animals.

  110. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears

    Lets hope they don’t get that idea most of the time Jon, or they will indeed suffer…

  111. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Now wait a minute, here. Recall that the mainstream argument for wolf reintroduction in the contiguous lower 48 is that wolves take the weak, injured, old and the otherwise unfit prey. The corollary to that axiom is that much of this is compensatory mortality (they would have died anyway) and not additive (taking additional prey that weather, other predators or hunters do not get). When densities of wolves get high, more additive mortality occurs, requiring new balance – hunters take fewer, is the current thinking.

    Things in this small part of AK got out of balance, and there are hungry wolves on the landscape and apparently no available food or maybe they were not able to get it because of age or other factors, which may have caused them to select for a prey they have a history of avoiding. The question is WHY? Was it a mistake (shark bites the surfboard thinking it is a seal), or is it behavior borne of shear survival, and an adaptation? Hungar is a strong motivator.

    1. jon Avatar

      I don’t believe that to be true. Wolves will kill whatever they can catch and whatever is easiest for them to catch.

    2. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      “…..That is, in part, why calf elk recruitment is low, and age structure in some elk herds has gone to hell in some areas recently……”
      That is true….in some areas……in others not so much.
      What it means is that wolves are only ___one component____ within a habitat. Sometimes that might mean the dominant component for periods of time as we are discussing a dynamic rather than a static condition. But well before becomeing the dominant component a whole series of other conditions need to come in play .
      In other words wolves could be the straw that broke the camels back so to speak but most certainly not the entire cause and effect.
      But I am probably singing to the choir now.

  112. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    “Recall that the mainstream argument for wolf reintroduction in the contiguous lower 48 is that wolves take the weak, injured, old and the otherwise unfit prey. The corollary to that axiom is that much of this is compensatory mortality (they would have died anyway) and not additive ….”
    I do not want to start an argument but I get so tired of hearing this. Anyone that spent any time at all studying wolves would soon realize that wolves will take whatever presents the best option for them.
    Wolves spend a great deal of time sorting prey and using all of there senses are able to choose those that would most easily be taken. A great deal of the time that translates into taking weak and old, and diseased, DUH.
    However if that is not an option then wolves will take what is available that would not present an obvious danger to themselves. If they are starving then obviously some options that would not normally be considered are.

    I think that works the same for any species including humans.

    It is certainly a tragedy that the woman was killed however if these wolves were starving it probably would not matter what was coming down the trail at that point in time with few exceptions, such as snowmobiles, these wolves would have probably had a go at it.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The statement that wolves take the weak, old, etc. should always be realized for what it is — a statistical generalization about the way things turn out when they are counted.

      It’s like saying “the quick guard was deadly on a jump shot from the keyhole.” It doesn’t mean the guard never missed a basket.

    2. Wilderness Muse Avatar
      Wilderness Muse

      Jeff E,

      I am not looking for an argument either. I do, however, get equally as tired when I hear (usually from uninformed, over- the-top, wolf advocates pushing a postion) that wolves take ONLY the “weak, injured, …old,” argument. It is an effort to diffuse what really happens in Nature as a predator population increases, and they start taking the young and healthy, and mature rut tired bulls. That is, in part, why calf elk recruitment is low, and age structure in some elk herds has gone to hell in some areas recently.

      And, in this instance, I reluctantly used the language you quote to put sideboards on Jon’s rather inane statement, to which I was directly responding.

      I am in agreement with your comment.

  113. Hattie Avatar

    And then there is something else. Barry Lopez, in his fine book, Of Wolves and Men, talks about the “conversation of death” that, if I recall, trackers and biologists have seen and did not understand, but native peoples who have to share their world, and their hunting grounds, with wolves recognize and speak about. It’s well worth reading the whole book for a thorough view of how we wrap the wolves in our stories – from science, to hunting, to native peoples, to literature.

    The conversation of death has to do with the decisive moment when the predator and prey make eye contact. “a ceremonial exchange” occurs, Lopez says, “the flesh of the hunted in exchange for respect for its spirit.”

    Lopez wouldn’t say this happens all the time, doesn’t claim the animal’s nature is anything other than what it is. He just opens, wide, the possibility that a whole lot more goes on between the wolf and what he eats… when it can. And that there have been repeated, documented times when the conversation happened and death was not the result.

    If the woman who lost her life recently had not only shut down her hearing, her whole concentration (her other senses, too, would have been significantly reduced by the IPod, maybe even by the jogging)… Not to blame, but to widen the conversation a bit… if she had been walking, without the IPod, paying close attention, then might we not even be having this conversation. I don’t know. We don’t get to turn the tables back and know what might have happened.

    Still, the “conversation of death” is fascinating to consider…and the possibility that individual wolves are not easily pigeonholed… any more than individual people are.

  114. mikarooni Avatar

    I don’t know about any conversations of death; but, I’ve spent a lot of time around wolves, coyotes, and other canines. I spent many years raising and training dogs to explore the people, ideologies, and culture around the “sport” known as Schutzhund and I’ve learned some basic things about canines, even the little ones, but especially the big ones.

    Canines are much more intelligent than we generally think; but, there is one thing they can’t control. When something either intentionally or unintentionally acts like prey, a canine, or perhaps any carnivore, simply cannot resist the instinct to be a predator. When a young woman runs past them, oblivious to their presence, or worse, when she runs up on them and then panics, cowers, sends plenty of subtle signals of weakness, and then turns and tries to run away; they will respond whether they were originally in any hunting or hostile mode or not.

    The evidence is clear that neither wolves nor bears routinely seek out humans as prey. With the obvious exception of bears in a frantic pre-hibernation hyperphagic phase, dedicated maneaters are pretty rare; but, when presented with the right stimulus and behavioral clues, they’ll have no resistance to the urge to savage even a knotted beach towel. If, once that towel stops moving, it appears to be meat; then it’s doubtful they’ll let it go to waste. That’s just the way they’re designed and they can’t help it.

  115. jon Avatar

    I don’t want to fault the woman that was killed by wolves, but perhaps if a little common sense was used, she might still be here today. You have to be aware of your surroundings especially in a place like Alaska. I think too many people have the thinking that nothing will ever happen to them when they go jogging. I also notice when situations like this happen, it’s the norm to blame the animals for doing what they were put on earth to do. Just like when a surfer gets attacked by a great white, it’s the shark’s fault for attacking you and in return, they want the shark killed.

    1. Harley Avatar

      I said I wasn’t going to post but I just kinda feel the need to do so here.

      Ok, I got the idea from some of the posting here that the woman was this naive thing transplanted into the bush country of Alaska, she should have known better and so on and so forth. Someone pointed this blog out to me from another site. Don’t know if you’ve seen it before but if you haven’t take a look see. She wasn’t this naive lower state dweller.


      It is a facinating blog and gives a tiny insight to who this woman was. As a Special Education teacher myself, it was even more interesting to read.
      People here seem to want to say, if she had taken more precautions, she might be alive today. This is very true. However, the fact remains that most of us have been raised on the belief that wolves don’t do this sort of thing. We have more to fear from bears than wolves. Unfortunately, now we know wolves can do this very kind of thing. Now we know it for a fact. If the wolves that killed her were starving themselves, dispatching them may have been the kindest thing to do.
      It would seem to me that this woman took precautions. She ran with dogs that were trained to help protect against bears. Can we really fault her if she followed the thought that wolves just don’t attack unless it’s weak or sick? Can we fault her if she, or anyone else for that matter, didn’t realize they had starving wolves lurking around the town? A starving animal is different from a healthy one.
      I know many of you mourn the loss of the wolves. It was a shame they were starving. But I’m reserving my mourning for the loss of a very special person who wanted to make a difference in her corner of the world.

    2. mikarooni Avatar

      Harley, in my posting above, I’m not blaming this poor woman nor am I blaming posters like Jon who point out that personal vigilance (the term “common sense” may have too many connotations for this situation) is important in areas occupied by large wildlife of any kind (a feral hog will kill you quicker than a bear or a wolf). My point is that pretty much any big dog (wolf, pit bull, dober, rott, or whatever and starving or not) will not be able to control the urge to chase you down with bad consequences if they get the wrong kind of subtle signal from you and it doesn’t take much to give them such a signal.

    3. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Jon and others – this woman was eaten alive – maybe one of the wolves bit her face while the others tore through her rectum like they do to elk. Maybe you folks can contact her family and explain to them all the mistakes their loved one made and how she kinda, you know got what she deserved. You freaks have a great day.

    4. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson


      I really doubt wolves would go for a humans rectum. Our anatomy is not conducive for it and what is the need when you’re down and out?

      Which brings up the real need for wolves to do so. And I doubt you even know. It is for refrigerated storage without a frig. You see it is not wanton waste when an elk or buffalo gets its rear end ripped out and the wolves then leave it to go on to the next one for the kill of the day.

      You see these wolves go on those 7-10 circuits partly because when they come back that frig door is open and that animal you think is supposedly left to die and rot is now ready for the plate. Not much is needed to finish it off.

      It may seem like a pain in the ass way of doing business but then again a lot of folks have hemorrhoids also.

  116. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Candice Brener’s blog was a good read. She reported on wild animals she saw but never mentioned a wolf. Remember she said ” I’m glad I ventured away to experience this great world we live in.”

    She showed a picture of the schools mascot, a wolf, and indicated “It’s a great reminder of what lurks outside in the wilderness and to be on the alert at all times.”

    It is a tragedy she was killed by any means. She could have frozen to death on the day their ATV quit running had the party been separated in the white-out. Very few if any here would ever have heard about it under those circumstances.

    I have never felt that a wolf couldn’t kill a human, just that the probability was and still is very low.

    A questions – where were the starving wolves mentioned in any of the reports?

    1. Harley Avatar

      Oof, this was a while back but I remember reading something, somewhere that said the wolves were in poor condition. I can’t honestly say if the word starving was actually used. Again, if this was the case, that they were in poor condtion, starving, what was done was necessary. ok but still see, the fact remains that this person, McNay? he states in his paper, the document you directed me to that I also found on my own but only in part, he talks about 80 wolf/human encounters were the wolves showed little fear of humans. So encounters are not rare. You want to argue the finer points and say a death is rare, fine. But 80 encounters are NOT rare. And they are increasing.
      Again, I am not for the whole sale killing of wolves! But when an animal with the potential that a wolf has shows no fear of humans, I guess my first question is, why little fear and that would be followed by what are the ramifications of this?
      I have another question here. What if Candice had been carrying a gun and what if instead of her being killed, the wolves had been killed. Would people here still be saying it’s a shame those wolves had to be killed because this woman was protecting her life? Or is it just a shame that wolves were killed because this woman had the unfortunate luck of being killed by a rare occurance…

  117. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    You can get the entire ADF&G Wildlife Technical
    Bulletin 13 published in 2002 by ordering on line – they even pay the postage. It lets you take a close look at what is called an “encounter” that you seem to be so concerned about.

    Sure you can protect your life – I bet bear spray, as well as a bullet, would work on a wolf – she mentioned carrying it earlier.

    If wolves can not be allowed to exist in the least populated county (borough) in th USA where would you like them to exist?

    1. Harley Avatar

      Pray tell when Barb, just When the Hell did I ever, EVER state in any blog that I do NOT want them to exist? Get off your damn high horse for a minute and actually read my damn posts!

    2. Barb Rupers Avatar
      Barb Rupers

      I have read your posts here and elsewhere carefully, and more than once.

      Could you answer the questions where do you want them to exist? In what numbers or population densities? What value do you think they have for man? For the ecosystem?

      Or is this all about protecting everybody from everything? Or just wolves, or predators, or wildlife? Moose have killed and injured more people in Alaska than have wolves.

  118. Harley Avatar

    Where do I want them to exist. Hmmm…That’s kind of a stupid butt question. Do I want them in Chicago? No. Wilderness areas? yes
    Population densities… I’m no scientist but wow, common sense would tell me if numbers in prey is low and predators is high, some sort of control is necessary. I’ve seen conflicting reports on all kinds of numbers and have come to the conclusion that people will spin it the way they want it done. What value do they have for man? Dunno other than I believe without any kind of prey, there would be no balance.
    For your last comment about moose vs. wolves, are moose eaters of flesh? Will they go seeking livestock, pets, whatever is easiest to get to when they are starving? That was another stupid kind of question.
    Are you trying to pick a fight here Barb? I don’t think you’ve read my posts at all.
    I have always said it’s about balance. Always. And if the blance is broken, it needs to be fixed in some way shape or form. I have NEVER said I don’t think wolves should be allowed to exist. Ever. I believe they should. I believe they have their place in ecosystems. I believe they, like all predators, were created for a purppose, yes, CREATED. I believe we should take care of the earth that we’ve been given as stewards. I also think we’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I also value human life as well.

  119. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I am not trying to pick a fight, just trying to point out facts and other attitudes. I don’t find where I have said you want wolves eliminated or that you hate wolves.

    “Do I want them in Chicago? No. Wilderness areas? yes”. Are these Congressionally designated wildernesses like the Frank Church? Or real wilderness caused by the paucity of man’s presence like where Candice Berner lived?

    To my knowledge moose do not eat flesh. It probably doesn’t matter to the person killed by a moose by goring, trampling, and/or biting.

    My daughter hunts in Idaho; she has mentioned seeing wolf tracks and hearing them howl, but she never expressed concern. A moose is a different story – she walks extra miles to avoid them – they can be dangerous.

    Who is to decide if the “balance is broken”?

  120. Si'vet Avatar

    Who really decides what is balance, it seems to me the only constant in the world is “change” since the dawn of time. So really isn’t balance just opinion, there hasn’t always been wolves / people / elk on the earth, there’s been shifts if you will in plant’s and animals, there always will. So for now we each try to influence the “shift” in the direction that make us the feel the most warm and fuzzy, and we call that our balance. PS: Barb barn swallows are on the move.

  121. JB Avatar


    The only constant in ecosystems is change–at least over the long haul. What most call “balance” is really nothing more than a desire for predictability that is, in my opinion, a result of the agricultural model we have imposed upon ecosystems.

    God forbid there is year to year variation in the harvest of any valued game species.

  122. Harley Avatar

    ~I don’t find where I have said you want wolves eliminated or that you hate wolves.~

    (If wolves can not be allowed to exist in the least populated county (borough) in th USA where would you like them to exist?)

    This was a reply to a post I made. Did I mis interpret here? Where did I ever say or express an opinion that wolves shouldn’t be allowed to exist in this least populated county? I believe what I said was something along the lines of, if an animal is a problem, they need to be taken care of be it wolf or moose.
    As far as treating a moose with more respect than say a wolf, walking an extra mile because they can be dangerous, I think every wild creature can be ‘dangerous’, I’d give a skunk a very wide berth as well as a racoon. What is your point here Barb?


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