Wolf attacks are extremely rare, less common than mountain lion or bear attacks in North America. It is not hard to understand skepticism about a hunter's account of a wolf attack where he used a .380 pistol to successfully defend himself, in central Wisconsin. The pistol used was a Walther PK.
The Department of Natural Resources investigated. They believed the account, but did not list it as a wolf attack, because there was no injury to the defending human. From americanhunter.org:
The first wolf came in from the right, mouth open, fangs ready to rip into Nellesen's leg. A swift kick from the man’s boot landed square on the wolf's face and deflected the bite.Another account from the same area lends credibility to Nellesen's story. A father and son were in the area for a youth deer hunt on October 10th, a little more than two weeks after the first incident. From outdoornews.com:
“That first wolf missed my leg by 8-10 inches,” he said.
The other two wolves weren’t far behind. As the next wolf leapt toward Nellessen, the man jumped back and was able to fire a single round into the animal. Nellessen was unsure of the lethality of the hit, but two wolves immediately retreated for the bush at the sound of the gunshot and the third limped away “like a gut-shot deer," said Nellessen.
That incident involved a father and son who had one wolf pass by them at about 10 feet and a following wolf come to within 5 feet before a shot was fired into the air, according to DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller.Both incidents occurred in the Colburn Wildlife Management Area, which is located in Adams County, about 75 miles due north of Madison, Wisconsin.
Nellessen says this about the classification of his incident as "not an attack":
“You do not have to be harmed to be attacked,” Nellessen said. “They can label it whatever they want to label it. I thought I was going to die and I had to defend myself. That first wolf’s teeth just missed my thigh.
“I let the authorities know what happened. I took them to where it happened. I could have walked away and not said anything, but what if something would have happened to someone else? I had to report it.
The Department of Natural Resources temporarily closed two of the parking lots for the management area. Traps were set for wolves, but none were caught. The DNR thought the incident serious enough that they had decided that any wolves caught would be euthanized.
Wolf attacks were common in Europe, with wolf attacks woven into legend and history. Few wolf attacks have been documented in North America; there are no written records before the introduction of European civilization; certainly North American Indian legend considers wolves dangerous; but there are not "documented" attacks, as newspapers were non-existent. Bernal Diaz, in "The Conquest of Mexico" mentions "wolves" as among the predators that were fed human flesh by the Aztecs; but that is not an attack, as such.
Most likely, attacks occurred, but simply were not recorded. With the arrival of Europeans, wolves were shot on sight, and quickly driven from areas that had established the rule of law.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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