If you plan on doing any camping or backpacking in wolf country this year, this is a reminder that they can and will eat your dog.
Even if your dog sleeps inside the tent, wolves will hunt and kill pets in broad daylight when they are hungry enough.
Tips To Keep Wolves From Entering Your Yard or Camp
Camping in wolf country:
- A wolf will enter a yard, they have no problem entering your camp.
- Cook, wash dishes and store food away from sleeping areas.
- Pack out or dispose of garbage and leftover food properly.
- Suspend food, toiletries and garbage out of reach of any wildlife.
- Keep pets near you at all times.
Watching wolves in wolf country:
While seeing a wolf is a memorable experience, like any other wild animal, you should use caution when they are close. Keep the following things in mind while you are viewing them:
- Remember they are not domestic pets, e.g., a large German Shepherd.
- Do not feed wolves.
- Do not entice wolves to come closer.
- Do not approach wolves.
- Do not attempt to restrict or block their movement.
- Leave a path or area open for a wolf to leave.
- Do not allow a wolf to approach any closer than 300 feet; began to back away if being approached; determine your escape route.
- Have another person with you —always a good rule!
Living in wolf country:
Aggressive or fearless wolves in wolf country:
If a wolf acts aggressively (growls or snarls) or fearlessly (approaches humans at a close distance without fear) take the following actions:
- Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself look larger.
- Yell, make noise and throw objects —sticks, stones, pans— at the wolf.
- Back away slowly; do not turn your back on the wolf —especially if its head is lowered.
- Keep direct eye contact.
Attacks On Humans Are Very Rare
Although wolves will usually stay away from humans, they will still go after them if they are starving. Still, their lack of fear is unsettling at times.
In 1996, a biologist was killed at a wildlife preserve in Haliburton, Ontario, while feeding captive wolves. In 2000, a kayaker was attacked on Vargas Island in British Columbia by wolves that had been fed by previous kayakers and most recently, a Canadian folk singer was fatally injured from a coyote attack while hiking Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia.
Once humans are associated with food, it is only a matter of time before curiosity and hunger overcome fear, increasing the chances of close encounters that almost always result in extermination for the wolf, and can result in injuries or death for humans. Curiosity in wildlife is natural, and it is our responsibility to ensure that any interest in our campsites is never rewarded. The same principles used to protect wild bears from human carelessness should be applied to wolves.
Many Ranchers and Farmers Use a Technique Called "Hazing"
What Are Some Methods of Hazing Wolves?
- Be loud and large. By waving your arms over your head and shouting, you are portraying yourself as a threat to these animals. Maintain eye contact and continue shouting, until the animal is out of sight. It is very important that you always portray yourself as confident and large whenever you are hazing an animal.
- Whistles, air horns, and bells can be used for extra noise and provide yet another unusual sound they should be afraid of.
- Hoses and other projectile objects can be another great tool. No animal wants to be sprayed with water or have things thrown at them.
1. Keep your campsite clean:
Locate your kitchen at least 100 metres downwind from your tent site. Hang all food and toiletries out of reach, or use animal proof storage devices provided at some campsites. In treeless areas, stow all food and kitchen equipment in animal-proof containers. Do not burn food scraps in fire pits—pack them out.
2. Frighten wolves away:
If wolves approach your campsite, scare them away with loud noises or by throwing sticks and rocks. While this may appear to cross the lines of wildlife etiquette, you are doing them a favour by convincing them to give humans a wide berth. In most cases, your simple two-legged presence should be enough to frighten them off.
3. Secure your gear:
Wolves are very curious, and any unsecured gear—drybags, shoes, and jackets—is fair game. Clip dry bags to your tent and leave shoes and loose items in your tent. This will alert you if an animal is trying to sneak off with your gear.
The last unprovoked, unfed wolf kill in North America has been traced back to 1922. However, with an estimated 60,000 wolves roaming the untamed regions of North America, and an ever-increasing number of humans searching for solace deep in the heart of their habitat, encounters between our two species are sure to increase. It is up to us to ensure that our dances with wolves remain distanced and friendly.
Wolves are not pets. Stay strict or they will go after yours when you aren't expecting it.