Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 12 July, 2018, a salmon researcher was treed by a pack of wolves in a Washington state wilderness area. She tried pepper spray and yelling, but the pack surrounded her and she climbed a tree. She later climbed down, only to find the wolves still there. She scrambled back up the tree and called for rescue, about 12:30 p.m. From capitalpress.com:
Washington wildlife managers initially opposed sending a helicopter or a search-and-rescue team to save a woman treed by wolves in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, according to recordings and summaries of emergency calls obtained Tuesday.
The Department of Natural Resources pushed back and prepared to dispatch an air crew that eventually executed a swift rescue. Notes from a call between DNR dispatcher Jill Jones and a wildlife officer summarized WDFW’s position, and her position, shortly before the helicopter launched.
“No helicopter. Federally listed species. 3 WDFW personnel saying so,” according to DNR’s call log.
“We are more concerned for her life than the listed animal,” Jones told the officer. “He indicated that she is safe up in the tree. … I told him that we do not know how safe she is. I don’t know how stout the tree is, and if the limbs will continue to hold her or how long she can hold on.”
A helicopter crew, in aircraft N338WN, finally rescued the woman later in the day. The crew consisted of four men, who from all reports, did an excellent job. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Helicopter members were Devin Gooch (pilot), Jared Hess (crew), Mathew Harris (crew) and Daryl Schie (helicopter manager). It took about 45 minutes to get permission for the helicopter crew to take off, then another 14 minutes for the helicopter to arrive. I have not found the arrival time of the helicopter on site in any media. From seattletimes.com:
The research student was at a Okanogan County campground when she came across a wolf, and tried to use pepper spray on it. But another wolf appeared and then she climbed a tree.
“The information we received was that she was 30 feet up a tree with a pack of wolves surrounding it,” Rogers said in a news release.
The sheriff said it would’ve taken his deputies about two hours to hike to her location, but the state Department of Natural Resources volunteered a helicopter that could be there in 14 minutes.
Rogers said when the helicopter arrived, the pilot told dispatch, “We’ve got wolves on the ground.”
The pilot landed and the wolves scattered. The woman climbed aboard safely.
Later reports show the woman to be a seasonal employee engaged in salmon research. She was not a student. She was not at the Okonagan County campground, but miles away from it. The helicopter likely arrived about an hour after the researcher called for help. The Capital Press report records about 45 minutes of debate preceded sending the helicopter.
Researchers have already created an excuse for the aggressive wolf behavior. They say the area the woman was in is a “rendevous site”; therefore the wolf behavior was “defensive” not aggressive. From miltribune.com:
They determined that where the researcher was treed was a “rendezvous” site, and the wolves were likely acting defensively to protect offspring or food sources.
It is easy to create excuses for aggressive wolves. Anyone can do it.
The authorities have decided to allow these aggressive wolves to continue without interference. If traveling in this area, it might be wise to take a defensive firearm and plenty of ammunition. Wolf packs need large territories to produce enough food for wolves to survive. Wolves can easily travel 30 miles a day.
Wolf defenders work hard to claim that any aggressive wolf behavior is defensive. How is a person in the woods to know if the wolves are attacking defensively or aggressively? You cannot.
What difference should it make in your response? None.
If you are being attacked, you need to defend yourself. The woman researcher was lucky. She was able to secure refuge and contact rescuers who were willing and able to come to her aid.
When European immigrants first came to North America, they assumed that wolves were dangerous. All of their experience in Europe showed wolves to be dangerous. Wolves in North America are the same animals as wolves in Europe.
The mythology of the harmless wolf was created out of the success of the developing North American civilization. They were successful at protecting themselves and their animal resources from wolves. The European immigrants brought technology that was effective in keeping wolf populations on the defensive, afraid of contact with man. When wolves came in conflict with men who had access to firearms, steel traps, and poison, wolves learned to fear men or die.
The best way to keep wolves harmless is to keep them in fear of man. This pack in Washington state has successfully treed a woman, without any loss. They have learned from the experience. They are likely to treat the next human more aggressively.
Wolf attacks are rare. Humans need to work at keeping them that way.
Wolves are powerful and effective predators that work in coordination with each other. Unarmed humans are no match against a wolf pack that views them as prey.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.