It’s important to be able to properly identify your local wildlife if you want to keep yourself and your family safe, especially when you’re out hiking or camping in the wilderness.
The following guide will help you tell apart wolves from the other animals they can be mistaken for, as well as provide tips on how to survive a wolf encounter with them if you find yourself face-to-face with one of these fierce creatures.
How to Survive a Wolf Encounter
Wolves are elusive and dangerous animals, but generally, avoid confrontation with humans.
They hunt alone or in packs, often stalking prey for long periods of time before attacking. In order to survive an encounter with wolves, you need to understand how they hunt.
Wolves will normally hunt large game like deer or elk in open areas, however, if wolves spot humans in open land they will usually attack.
An encounter with a wolf is not likely and you should avoid situations where there might be a conflict between your pet and wolves.
However, even though it is unlikely, knowing what to do if you find yourself face-to-face with a wolf may help ensure that you survive an attack from these creatures.
What should you do if you come face-to-face with one?
Though you’re likely to only find wolves roaming in rural and remote locations, chances are still high that you could stumble across one in some capacity.
Wolves can easily be identified by their unique coloring, which makes them relatively easy to distinguish from other large predators like coyotes or mountain lions.
If you do happen upon one, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, it’s important that you know what actions are necessary for your safety and theirs.
As always when interacting with wildlife, it is best not to agitate the animal unless there is an immediate threat involved.
For example: don’t pet them or approach them in any way if they seem hostile.
A Wolf’s Environment
Wolves thrive in the vast wilderness, but they can also be found in remote places like the Arctic tundra and at high altitudes. In these inhospitable locales, wolves must hunt snowshoe hares, arctic ground squirrels, moose, elk, and more.
Wolves are social animals—when they aren’t too busy hunting (or avoiding hunters), they may form packs of six or more. These tight-knit groups have one leader and will stick together through thick and thin. So how do you survive a wolf encounter?
Well, for starters…don’t go anywhere alone! You never know what might happen if you get attacked by a pack of vicious wolves; it might be dangerous to try and outrun them on your own.
Likelihood to Become a Wolf’s Prey
A wolf encounter is extremely unlikely.
You’re far more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 63,000) or die in an airplane crash (1 in 809,000) than come face-to-face with one of these creatures.
While wolves are larger and stronger than you are, they’re incredibly timid and avoid humans whenever possible. Plus, they don’t like water.
But if you do run into one: flee!
Do not attempt to fight back; it will make you look threatening and can cause an attack.
To survive a wolf encounter, stay calm and continue moving away from it until it loses interest.
Then seek help from authorities immediately so that your location can be marked off of future patrols.
Camping with Pets
Keep your dog close. If you’re worried about your pet, bring him or her along! Dogs are natural hunters and will run off into tall grass if they see movement.
Also, remember that dogs are more likely to eat carrion than wolves.
Make sure your dog isn’t bringing food back to camp!
On top of keeping them from eating dead animals, not allowing dogs near carcasses can keep them safe from parasites like rabies and roundworms (if you’re concerned about eating wild game yourself).
You don’t have anything to worry about with properly cooked meat at home or in restaurants, but wolves aren’t so careful!
Acting in the Presence of Wolves
As mentioned above, wolves are large predators that pose threats to you and your loved ones. When in their presence, always be aware of your surroundings and avoid making eye contact.
Wolves are drawn to body language with gestures like arm-folding or standing with your hands on your hips. It’s also important not to turn away from them because they interpret it as a sign of submission.
If you see wolves or hear them howling, avoid running or panicking; instead, keep calm by remaining still and make yourself look bigger by holding out your jacket or arms as if you were trying to scare away an intruder.
How to Survive a Wolf Attack
Humans are rarely attacked by wolves, and most of us never will be. However, should you ever find yourself in such a situation, there are ways to avoid becoming prey?
Never run from wolves; instead, crouch on your heels with your head down and hands out in front of you. This pose projects weakness and tells them that you aren’t worth their effort.
Do’s to Prevent an Attack and During an Attack
Do keep your distance. If you see wolves in your area and choose to get closer for a better look, use binoculars or a zoom lens if you have one. Do carry pepper spray. It will help ward off an attack from both wolves and other wild animals.
Pepper spray is easy to use and can be effective up to 10 feet away from its target. Do hike with friends and always leave someone informed about where you are going, what time you’ll return, and how long it will take you – no matter how familiar your route is.
Do hike when others are around so that there are plenty of sets of eyes (ears!) on potential threats.
Also Read:- How fast do deer run?
Don’ts During an Attack
If you happen upon a wolf pack, do not run away. Contrary to what you may see in movies, wolves will not give chase. They are well aware that humans are faster than they are and will choose not to pursue you.
So long as you stand still and make no sudden movements, wolves will leave your vicinity—as long as there is food in their territory.
In other words, if they have reason to attack (if they think you’re after their young or food), they’ll attack without hesitation; otherwise, they’ll ignore your presence.
Fear is good. Fear can help us in fight or flight situations, but it is not good when it prevents us from thinking rationally.
Learn about wolf behavior and how you can prevent an encounter in the first place, should you ever find yourself in one.
Being prepared and knowing how to react could be what keeps you safe in a situation like that of The Boy Who Cried, Wolf.
How will you know? Well, hopefully, these tips will teach you…