Defensive Wolf Shooting: Washington State Sheriff says Carry a Gun

Wolves from game camera in Wisconsin, courtesy Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-( On 7 October 2020, a Coleville, Washington man was checking game cameras in the area near Rocky Creek Road. The sun had set seven minutes earlier, but the sky was clear. The fading glow from the sun, in a clear sky, illuminated the woods. There was no wind.

As he approached a game camera in an area outside of cell phone coverage, he felt as if eyes were upon him. Looking ahead, he saw wolves 30 yards away. The pack showed members 30 yards ahead of him, to the sides, and at least one wolf partially obscured but close behind him.

He was surrounded by wolves. He yelled in an attempt to scare the wolves off. They did not retreat. Instead, they bared their teeth and started growling.

The man was carrying a Browning A-Bolt Mini Medallion rifle in 7mm-08 caliber, topped with an optical sight. To protect himself in the dense cover, he shot one of the menacing wolves in front of him in the chest. The bullet exited the middle of the back near or through the spine. The wolf dropped immediately. The other pack members retreated, howling. From

“The man called us as soon as he managed to get back to a place where he had cell service, and the incident was investigated by the county’s wildlife conflict specialist, Jeff Flood, and the state Department of Fish and Game,” said Stevens County Sheriff Brad Manke. “Investigators went to the scene and found the dead wolf. From the evidence, they confirmed the man’s story and determined that he acted completely within the law because he was threatened.”

The man with the rifle notified the Sheriff’s office as soon as he was able to make cell phone connection. Stevens County Sheriff, Brad Manke, contacted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The man, the County wildlife specialist, and Sgt. Leonetti of the WDFW met and went back to the area where the shooting occurred. They found the dead wolf.

Further investigation confirmed the man’s story, including pictures from the game camera, which established the time of the incident precisely.

The WDFW has determined no crime was committed. The man acted in self-defense. The Sheriff agreed.

Staci Lehman of the WDFW said the man with the gun did not do anything wrong. Sheriff Manke advised people to carry a firearm when they were in wild areas. From

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “He did everything by the book, including immediately notifying us as soon as he could.”

She said the wolf that was killed is believed to be from the Smackout Pack, which maintains its territory in that area. Manke said, with wolves, cougars, and bears living in the woods of Northeastern Washington, it is advisable for people to carry a gun for safety when they enter the forest.

“We don’t have many of these kinds of encounters but they do happen,” he said. “If a person is comfortable and competent with a firearm, I would absolutely encourage them to carry one when they go into the woods.”

Wolf attacks are rare, but are becoming more common. There was a near-miss in Washington State in 2018. From

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.

Many experts believe a fatal wolf attack occurred in Alaska in 2010:

The autopsy report concluded that her death was the result of animal attack, with bite injuries to the victim’s neck, but the report falls short of specifying the kind of animal involved. Most experts believe that a pack of 2 to 4 wolves undoubtedly inflicted the fatal injuries, however, the only other known previous fatal wolf attack in North America over the last 100 years occurred in 2005, when a young student, hiking alone, was attacked and partially eaten by a pack of wolves in northern Saskatchewan.

Valerious Geist, a Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Calgary, Canada, has written a seven-page explanation of how the myth of the harmless wolf came to be. From

I have been digging into historical literature in my quest to understand why in North America the myth of the “harmless wolf” took such a severe hold, to the point of perverting scholarship and quite probably leading to the death of some believers. The conventional view of the harmless wolf, which I also believed in throughout my academic career and four years into retirement, is in sharp contrast to experiences elsewhere. Yet, it certainly coincided with my personal experience pre-1999, after which a misbehaving pack of wolves settled about our and our neighbor’s properties at the edge of a farming district in central Vancouver Island. The unexpected behavior of these wolves led me to investigate wolf behavior for the first time.

Game departments and wolf experts have been attempting to have the reintroduced and thriving populations of wolves delisted from endangered species status. They have been opposed by well-funded opposition. President Trump’s administration has now delisted them for the fourth time. A court challenge is expected.

Carrying a gun in the woods is, once again, considered prudent and wise. Fortunately, guns and ammunition are better, more powerful, reliable, and relatively cheaper than they have ever been before.

Unfortunately, the current political climate had skyrocketed demand, making many models difficult to obtain.

Thanks to Staci Lehman of the WDFW for helping me obtain specific information about the incident.

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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Pastor Roy

Here’s an idea … removed the trail cams and get out of the area as fast as you can. Nobody will ever know. I’ve seen too many situations like this in which the innocent were prosecuted for simply attempting to remain alive. As for me, if that ever happens, it will be my little secret.


Shoot-shovel-SHUT UP !!!!

Old Bill

To begin with “Self reporting” is Problematic.. First because one may be subject to criminal penalty. That means any law or regulation requiring “self reporting” represents a violation of one’s 5th Amendment right against self incrimination. Secondly we have seen in previous incidents a where the “investigators” as much as they try to hide it have an anti-human/anti-hunter/anti-outdoors men prejudice/bias… The “Bambi and Balloo crowd are alive and well in those agencies which claim oversight.. This case is unusual in that a Sheriff’s department has at least performed an initial investigation and there is some strong image based evidence supporting… Read more »


I’m curious to know whether this pack of wolves are the original native Lesser Grey, or the transported larger higher breeing more aggressive and with higher metabolism (its from a much colder region) thus requireing more food…. and we all know when normal food gets scarcer anything else that looks like food will work. If these are the introduced transplanted ones, they DO need to go. They now number many times the originally established target populations, and are outbreeing the natives, squeezing them out, and decimating herds of normal native wildivfe. The stupid gummit dweebs blew it bring this one… Read more »


Wolves make outdoor activities an adventure! Chill out wimps.


Chill out with a good handgun on your hip. ANd LEARN how to use it well.


Agreed, if youre going to carry know how to use it. As a buddy outs it, “You cant miss fast enough to win a gunfight, get out there abd train.”


Chill out with a .44 Mag !!!


Colville is pronounced “Call-Ville”
These Wolves need to go. Only a matter of time before they scoop up someone’s child.

China Berry

Named after Andrew Colvile, a governor of the Hudson Bay Company etc.

Those wolves in NE WA, and the Idaho Panhandle finished off the last of the Mountain Caribou (our own Reindeer) in the contiguous US. I am all for having some of everything when it comes to native wildlife, but there are plenty of wolves here and not enough mule deer, caribou, (or even whitetails that aren’t living on farmland).


Several of the comments below show extreme ignorance. Wolves are actually good for the environment, check out the video ‘How wolves change rivers’. Link below. They are highly intelligent and very social (pack) creatures.Are they predators? Absolutely and they need to be treated with respect when in their territory, but they are largely cowardly and likely would have run away with a simple warning shot. And they can be cuddly when raised in captivity and socialized. I have two and they will crawl into your lap for a belly rub.


In many areas, yes. In others, not so much. If they are hungry enough or scared enough, like cougars and bears, they’ll go for it. I saw them often in Alaska and just stayed clear of them.

China Berry

A National Park is different than forest land managed for other uses and intermixed with farmland.

If you want wolves for pets, fine. (Sounds a bit exploitive to me tho.) Don’t insist others have to carry a heavy penalty for your desires, especially using incomplete science.


Not exploited at all. They were about to be put down so I took them. It took a couple years for them to trust and bond with me but now they are the sweetest things you could imagine. Unless you have 4 legs and come into their territory…then not so much.


Great story.


there are multiple species and subspecies of wolf. This area had plenty o fht lesser grey, they began to get pushed out and so da gummit listed them as endangered. Fine. No issue there. BUT some ignorant fool decided it would be a “good idea” to import the Greater Grey WOlf from upstate Michingan or Wisconsin, maybe that Mackinac Island… that wolf is larger, has a higher metabolism to survive the long far colder winters, has to eat far more, reporoduces at a signficantly higher rate, is faster and far more aggressive…. initial target population was around six tho Susand.… Read more »


The guv’s, “husband,” wanted to bring the wolves into Colorado, the left granted his wish. Shows how deeply ignorant the left really is.


WHAT !!!


That is one of many packs we have here in our valley. It’s colville not coleville


There’s a pack running the Eagle Cap Wilderness area, in eastern Oregon, that is losing fear of humans also. We’ve talked to several hunters that have experienced a run-in with that pack. Nothing has happened…….so far!! Although one hunter had to discharge the ole’ 45 several times to convince them that today wasn’t the day to die!!


Not the “cute and cuddly” little puppy dogs the green weenies’ propaganda talks about, eh?

Heed the Call-up

I would say, let them sit in a field near a wolf pack, have them post this by their site and give them the quote, misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, to read, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Heed the Call-up

In my part of North Idaho, there are plenty of good guns for sale, just no ammo to go with them.


Learn to RELOAD !!


I live in Montana and always pack a 44 Remington magnum or a 454 Casull . I had a encounter with 2 wolves at 20 yards in the timber while elk hunting in the 90s . I had my 30-06 and a handgun , but I never had to fire a shot . The wolves growled at me and turned and ran . They decided they wanted to live for another day .


Thanks Dean!


Wasn’t the most influential proponent of what you’re calling the harmless wolf theory the Canadian writer Farley Mowat and his book (later a movie) Never Cry Wolf?


my librul goofy little sister took me to see that when it was first out. She tought it was SO CUTE that the guy “made friends” with the wolves….. I still remember the scene where the nutjob caught a mouse and decided to see what it tasted like. So he boiled it up in a glass flask, and gingerly started to eat it…. groans of disgust filled the theatre… which if memory serves was somewhere in the Spokane area. . at least the film’s producers had a good sense of humour. If memory serves, the goofball got eaten by his… Read more »


The Mouse eating scene was the best part of that flim !!!