Not only did 30 wolves not attack two hunters who got between them and their prey, but they let themselves be driven off by a barrage of snowballs. Yet the National Rifle Association is using the alleged incident as an example of how dangerous, frightening and in need of control the animals are.
Hunters Upset About Encountering Wildlife
Perhaps the story is true, and perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch.
In any case, a hunter and National Rifle Association (NRA) member said it was 2 against 30 there in the deep snows of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. The hunter and his guide had suddenly found themselves surrounded by a herd of frightened elk fleeing what appeared to be several packs of wolves. Then the wolves themselves, around 30 in all, entered the scrum of elk and humans and began trying to separate a calf from its mother.
Feeling bad for Bambi for probably the first time in his life, the hunter said he and the other man began pounding the wolves with snowballs. In spite of having the odds far in their favor, the “dangerous predators” promptly retreated, leaving their dinner behind.
Now the NRA, in an attempt to thwart the potential restoration of federal Threatened Species status to wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains, is using the alleged 2005 incident as an example of how menacing wolves can be.
Late last year the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced that gray wolf populations in Idaho and Montana had recovered sufficiently to warrant removal of federal protection for the species under the Endangered Species Act. Both states promptly instituted controversial wolf hunts that are currently underway.
The Helena Independent Record has the man-bites-wolf story in full.
And for comments and conversation on the issue, visit the always-enlightening Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News.