'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

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'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Zethra » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:36 pm

Two Flathead Valley men who were retrieving an elk in the South Fork Flathead drainage say they ended up fending off a pack of aggressive wolves Saturday.

They were forced to leave behind the elk, and they ended up killing one wolf, resulting in an investigation because wolves are still protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Mark Appleby, a 49-year-old hunter from Columbia Falls, shot the 6-point bull elk the day before, on Oct. 29, off the Deep Creek Road east of Hungry Horse Reservoir. He quartered the animal and hiked out with the head with the intent of returning to pack out the meat with horses the next day.

Whitefish resident Raymond Pitman, 27, volunteered to help. The two men held a press conference Thursday in Kalispell to tell their story, with legislators and several reporters attending.

They rode in about two about two hours from their truck and carefully approached the downed elk, knowing there could be bears or wolves in the area. There was only a coyote track, so they had lunch and started rigging the horses up to pack out the meat.

After they had been in the area for about an hour, the horses started to spook, their attention focused on a nearby hillside.

“The horses started stinking out,” said Pitman, who first saw a group of wolves approaching no more than 30 to 40 yards away. Appleby saw them soon after.

“There were seven or eight of them and they were running at us at full stride at first,” said Appleby, who dashed toward the wolves to get his rifle.

“I was about halfway there and I heard Raymond shoot with his .44 mag,” Appleby wrote in his statement to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “When I reached my gun, I picked it up and the wolves stopped. I pointed my gun at them at about the same time they started to run at us again. At that time, I feared for my life and the horses and my friend and I started to shoot.”

Appleby fired several rounds at the wolves, which then retreated back up the timbered hillside.

“On this one, there was no time to think,” said Appleby, who is convinced that his friend’s pistol bought him the time to get to his rifle. “If he didn’t have that .44 on his side, we wouldn’t be talking to you.”

But the wolves did not fully retreat, Pitman said.

One started howling, and the others joined in. The horses continued to panic, and were literally leading Appleby and Pitman away from the area.

“It was a mess, an absolute mess,” said Appleby, adding that his stirred-up horse was beating him up as he tried to control it.

The wolves continued to push the two men and their horses, pursuing but staying mostly out of sight.

“I’m getting mad talking about it,” said Appleby, who was in disbelief that he was forced to abandon his meat. “I said I can’t believe we’re hauling the horses out empty.”

“The only reason they quit following us is that I was shooting at them,” Pitman said.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Perry Brown returned to the site with Appleby and Pitman on Monday, and determined that the wolves had followed the group for about 200 yards away from the elk.

“Perry went back with them and he found a dead wolf and multiple tracks at the site that indicated wolves had been present,” said Jim Satterfield, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional supervisor.

The elk meat had been fed on by wolves that are believed to be part of the Firefighter Pack, and at some point, a grizzly bear got in on the kill and buried the remains. Brown would not approach the dirt mound out of concern that the bear was still in the immediate area.

Satterfield said Brown’s report was turned over to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigator.

“The ball is in their court right now,” he said. “It would be the same thing as if someone shot a grizzly bear.”

Appleby said he was interviewed by a federal official from Great Falls.

“He said if the game warden said it was self-defense ... it would probably be the end of it,” said Appleby, who is more concerned about what an inexperienced hunter or unarmed person could do in the same situation.

“It was a scary situation, that’s for sure,” Appleby said.

It was not the first time a hunter has been intimidated by wolves.

Last year, an animal warden with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office shot an elk in the Darby area and had to hike around a ravine to reach his kill. By the time he got there, wolves were already on the elk, and he feared approaching them.

State Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, is concerned that there could be more incidents in the future.

“This is a horrible situation, but our hands are tied,” said Tutvedt, who attended the press conference that was organized by former Flathead County Commissioner Gary Hall, a friend of Appleby’s.

Tutvedt believes the best remedy is congressional action that would delist wolves in the Northern Rockies and restore the state of Montana’s authority to manage wolves with a legal hunt.
Source - http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/loca ... 03286.html
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Canidae » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:30 pm

I heard about this. Sounds to me like the wolves were just trying to defend that meat for themselves.

Still, this event is worrying.

I'm just glad they were both okay, and that they came prepared.
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Eternala » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:55 pm

I heard about this somewhere. Honestly I cannot blame the wolves. The elk was theirs in the first place, you know? But I'm glad the two are okay. I'm sure it would of been frightening to experience that.

Thanks for sharing this!

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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by frost9999 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:55 pm

its not nice to hurt animals but the men did have a right to do it

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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Snowstar » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:26 pm

I'm glad that at least the two guys weren't harmed, though it's sad that they had to shoot at the wolves and kill one of them before the pack left them alone. But they shouldn't have just left the rest of the carcass of the elk lying out there- there's no way that you can expect to just leave a dead body out in the woods and then return the next day to find it intact. Ah well. At least they weren't actually injured by the wolves, otherwise things could be very bad for that pack.
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Canidae » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:48 pm

Snowstar wrote: But they shouldn't have just left the rest of the carcass of the elk lying out there- there's no way that you can expect to just leave a dead body out in the woods and then return the next day to find it intact.
I wholeheartedly agree here...I think that was a bit irresponsible on their part.
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Kairah » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:48 am

Canidae wrote:
Snowstar wrote: But they shouldn't have just left the rest of the carcass of the elk lying out there- there's no way that you can expect to just leave a dead body out in the woods and then return the next day to find it intact.
I wholeheartedly agree here...I think that was a bit irresponsible on their part.
I agree on that too.
But actually, what are we talking about?
Why would they hunt elk anyway (the humans)?
If it's for the meat, just go to the mall.
If it's just for hobby, then I think you ought to know these things happen.
They're part of this dangerous sport.
And leaving your trophy in the middle of nature is just like luring out the danger yourself.

It's sad, really...
But that's just my opninion.
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Alpha Female » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:54 am

Canidae wrote:
Snowstar wrote: But they shouldn't have just left the rest of the carcass of the elk lying out there- there's no way that you can expect to just leave a dead body out in the woods and then return the next day to find it intact.
I wholeheartedly agree here...I think that was a bit irresponsible on their part.

I agree, it was quite irresponsible to expect the body to be in perfect condition after leaving it in the wilderness. The overall story is quite interesting. I also believe that the wolves were just defending the carcass.
Thanks for sharing Zethra!
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Maia Huntress » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:11 am

I agree with everybody; I honestly don't think the wolves were being aggresive for no reason. They were defending their kill; the hunters should have known that if they left the carcass out in the open it was likely to attract possibly aggressive animals.

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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by Razorfang » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:52 am

just a usual sign.

Im the boss. No I am the boss. Humans retreat.

simple enough.

no questions asked. Self defence is in all cases not wrong.

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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by shadowwolf966 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:51 pm

hum... maybe they had rabies?
it isn't like wolves to stick around humans and horses- especially ones with guns.

but then again, they probably were just doing it in self defense.
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Re: 'Hunters fend off pack of aggressive wolves'

Post by +Silence of Death+ » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:39 pm

The wolves are not aggressive. We are in there territory they were here first. I think wolves have the right to harm people when there close. These wolves are defending there hunt, pups, territory. We have no right to call them "Aggressive". Humans are more aggressive than wolves.
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