What does wolves close up mean?
If a wolf approaches you, you should certainly not assume it wants to eat you. On the other hand, watch it closely, it isn’t necessary benign.
Some people can “read” dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. People who can’t fill in the blanks with their hopes, fears, and generalizations from other animals.
This last month we witnessed the fearful reaction of two Montana hunters to a pack of wolves nearby. Flathead Valley hunters shoot wolf, say they were surrounded. By Tristan Scott of the Missoulian. Over the years, we have posted a number of other accounts where people had “scary,” close wolf encounters. Some folks will recall the humorous story of the Forest Service employees (from Utah) who encountered howling wolves in the middle of the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho (I don’t recall if they even saw one of the wolves), but they were so frightened by the howls they had a Forest Service helicopter fly into the designated Wilderness area to be evacuated.
I have heard no “scary” stories from people except from those already hateful or frightened of wolves, and who had a close encounter.
I’ve had two close encounters. With the first (1997) I was so overconfident, I was just stupid. We (five of us) repeatedly approached the Rose Creek Pack on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone when they had about 18 members. The wolves kept trotting 50 to 100 yards ahead, stopping and bark howling. At the time I didn’t know a bark howl is a much different message than a howl.
I have posted the story how being circled by wolves was thought to be a wonderful experience.
Here is another interesting close encounter. Ken Cole posted this story today too. It ended just fine, but it’s hard to know what the wolf was doing. Calm of the wild. Living with wolves takes some practice by Tim Lydon. Writers on the Range in the Missoula Independent. Ken also posts his own experiences.
I think if people have a scary wolf experience it is probably because they interpret most wolf behavior as something to be frightened of. To take it step farther, a frightened person might look like prey to an otherwise uninterested wolf.
Maybe some people are natural prey.