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Jean
12-21-2010, 09:25 AM
I saw a documentary; a bison was chased by wolf pack. As it had no hope, it tuned back to the wolf and stood ground, and the wolves stunned. They couldn't attack from the rear and had to abandon their prey.

I know that attack in the front is risky because bison's horn, but would wolves do that if say they encountered human?

Chumplet
12-21-2010, 09:34 AM
I somehow recall reading wolves tend to attack from the side with a quick slash, then retreat and do it again. I could be mistaken, though.

Stanmiller
12-21-2010, 05:27 PM
J,
Wolves are pack hunters. They assess the probability of success against the probability of injury. An injured predator starves to death if it can't hunt. So when the bison turned and faced the wolves, the wolves abandoned the attack as too risky.

When attacking animals larger then themselves (I would say this would include adult humans because wolves have a healthy fear of humans for good reason), they would use the standard chase attack from the side and rear.

Hope this helps.
Stan

Cyia
12-21-2010, 06:05 PM
Wolves hunt as a pack. They attack in tandem.

The first will aim for the front shoulder (from the side), trying to force the animal into a turn with the strength of a direct blow. Its partner will strike the opposite back flank. The force, on an animal the size of a deer or similar, can shatter the spine, incapacitating the animal completely. Then the pack swarms for a kill.

With larger animals, the pattern's the same, but involves more hits, as the other members of the pack "hit and run" to keep their prey disoriented. Eventually, unless it can completely shake the pack, the damage will break bones and wear the animal down. Then it's dead.

GeorgeK
12-21-2010, 10:37 PM
I saw a documentary; a bison was chased by wolf pack. As it had no hope, it tuned back to the wolf and stood ground, and the wolves stunned. They couldn't attack from the rear and had to abandon their prey.

I know that attack in the front is risky because bison's horn, but would wolves do that if say they encountered human?

It depends upon how desperate they are.

Rowan
12-22-2010, 03:57 AM
I'm no expert--just watch a lot of Nat Geo and I find wolves fascinating. :)

http://www.wolfcountry.net/information/WolfHunting.html


When the attack comes, the prey is usually seized by either the nose or the rump. Rarely, if ever, does a wolf hamstring a prey animal. This is one of the oldest and most pervasive false beliefs held about wolves. As late as 1980, the Aubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals stated that the wolf kills "by slashing tendons in the hind legs.", this is pure myth. The actual death of the prey is usually caused by massive blood loss, shock, or both. Sometimes with smaller prey a neck bite will snap a backbone.

Droemar
12-25-2010, 01:50 AM
Wolves hunt by outpacing their prey; they're built for stamina. Odds are the pack you saw stopped attacking because they hadn't run the animal to exhaustion yet, and with it still strong enough to fight, they couldn't risk a face-on attack. Also, they were hunting a full grown animal. Wolves target either the very young, the sick, the wounded, or the very old because all of these are more likely to succumb to exhaustion more quickly.
A wolf who was sick or extremely desperate would attack a human however they could. Healthy wolves capable of coordination probably wouldn't attack a human, so assume that the animals would fling themselves into battle the same way pit bulls and rottweilers on the fritz attack human joggers (or small children, depending on the story of the week). Wolves are known for eating what they grab when it comes off in their mouth, and then backing off so their prey can bleed to death. Gary Paulsen wrote Dogsong, and told a very vivid account of witnessing wolves eating a doe's stomach out while she was still standing and breathing. Many people, I think, like to portray wolves as ninja-strikers, elegant and deadly and clean. They're not. They're canines. Whatever they bring down will be too weak to fight when the wolves start to eat. It is within their nature to go for throat wounds, but again: that's just because they like to bleed out their quarry.
Hope that helped.

Bushrat
12-25-2010, 05:49 AM
I know that attack in the front is risky because bison's horn, but would wolves do that if say they encountered human?

What wolves would do if they encountered a human would be to turn tail and run, usually.
Sometimes wolves are curious. They may stand and look at you, taking their sweet time to check you out. If it is a pack, they may also follow you or approach you. As far as I know, there still is no proven wolf attack (wolf bites person) on humans by wild wolves (wolves that have not been fed by people, wolves that do not live in an enclosure).
My boyfriend was approached by a pack of 13 two winters ago - he was out on a frozen lake and they noticed him and came to check him out. When it got a bit too unnerving, he whistled and they turned an ran.
Another guy I know was approached by three wolves while out cross country skiing. They started closing in on him and running alongside. He made threatening gestures with his ski poles and they ran away.
Our neighbour had two wolves hanging out in his yard on and off for about three weeks this winter and shooed them off by shouting when it got on his nerves.
On northern Ellesmere Island, where my boyfriend spent some time this year, the wolves have never been hunted by humans. They will approach and sniff people's pants, much like dogs. Although they have hardly any fear of humans, they have not been known to attack anyone.
Predators tend to prey on the animals they've been preying on for generations. The Yukon reintroduced bison, which have been extinct here for hundreds if not thousands of years, assuming that the wolves would keep the population in check. Not so. Because bison show a different defense behaviour than moose and caribou, the mainstay of Yukon wolves, they didn't know what to do. After 40 something years of bisons in the Yukon, the wolves are just now finally catching on to how to kill them. This is partly also why llamas work as livestock protection - the predators find their body language too weird and intimidating, so instead of just killing the llamas that "guard" a herd of goats, they back off. Most wild animals will not risk injury to themselves unless their survival is at stake. There is a dialogue going on between predator and prey.
This is why, IMO, wolves don't attack humans. For one thing, we are just not part of their menu, just like the reintroduced bison in the Yukon and the llamas, and when they do check us out, we don't give the prey response that would trigger an attack - we don't show weakness, we show aggression.

We live out in the bush; actually, I just watched a wolf cross the lake this morning. If you need some facts about wolf-people encounters that are not gleaned from books and the internet, but actual personal experience, pm me :)

Canotila
12-29-2010, 12:03 PM
What wolves would do if they encountered a human would be to turn tail and run, usually.
Sometimes wolves are curious. They may stand and look at you, taking their sweet time to check you out. If it is a pack, they may also follow you or approach you. As far as I know, there still is no proven wolf attack (wolf bites person) on humans by wild wolves (wolves that have not been fed by people, wolves that do not live in an enclosure).


There is no documented death caused by a healthy wild wolf in North America. People have been killed by healthy wolves on other continents though. And there have been plenty of attacks in North America, even though none of them resulted in a dead human.

This study was put together by wildlife biologist Mark McNay. He found 39 cases of healthy North American wolves showing aggression toward humans and a bunch more of non aggressive fearless wolves.
http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/pubs/techpubs/research_pdfs/techb13p1.pdf

It's enough that I would carry mace or something with me if hiking in wolf country, but not enough to keep me from hiking. :)

My cousin works in a diamond mine in the Yukon, and ended up treed by a pack of very desperate wolves who by his account would have definitely eaten him if he hadn't climbed out of reach. You have to figure, these are social carnivores, opportunistic feeders, and if they are hungry and desperate enough will take advantage of animals made of meat (us!).

My sister lives in Fairbanks. During the winter a pack of about thirty wolves heads into town when food gets scarce. They don't bother the human beings. They eat musher's dogs and garbage. And that's only when they are forced to because there aren't enough wild animals for them to eat.

That's fascinating about the bison in the Yukon, and completely makes sense about the llamas deterring them because they are unfamiliar.

Canotila
12-29-2010, 12:47 PM
Just wanted to add, that comparing a dog's hunting behavior with a wolf's isn't very accurate.

Hunting breeds of dog, any hound, any terrier, any spitz, have been bred to show ZERO fear of their quarry. They will do crazy stupid stuff that a wolf would never dream of. When you look at a Karelian bear dog and consider they weigh 45-55 lbs and will cheerfully tackle moose and grizzly...yeah. Not the best comparison.

Also, any dog that is attacking a human isn't usually "hunting" the person. It's usually defensive. Territorial, or out of fear (the dog is afraid someone is going to take it's bone, etc.) There are no breeds of dog bred to view humans as prey. Not even guard dogs. They function on defense drives only. A correct guardian dog will only show aggression to a human if it is provoked (by someone trespassing, or trying to harm a family member, etc.).

Jamesaritchie
12-29-2010, 06:05 PM
There is no documented death caused by a healthy wild wolf in North America. People have been killed by healthy wolves on other continents though. And there have been plenty of attacks in North America, even though none of them resulted in a dead human.

This study was put together by wildlife biologist Mark McNay. He found 39 cases of healthy North American wolves showing aggression toward humans and a bunch more of non aggressive fearless wolves.
http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/pubs/techpubs/research_pdfs/techb13p1.pdf

It's enough that I would carry mace or something with me if hiking in wolf country, but not enough to keep me from hiking. :)

My cousin works in a diamond mine in the Yukon, and ended up treed by a pack of very desperate wolves who by his account would have definitely eaten him if he hadn't climbed out of reach. You have to figure, these are social carnivores, opportunistic feeders, and if they are hungry and desperate enough will take advantage of animals made of meat (us!).

My sister lives in Fairbanks. During the winter a pack of about thirty wolves heads into town when food gets scarce. They don't bother the human beings. They eat musher's dogs and garbage. And that's only when they are forced to because there aren't enough wild animals for them to eat.

That's fascinating about the bison in the Yukon, and completely makes sense about the llamas deterring them because they are unfamiliar.

By a healthy wolf? Hell, they never find half the wolves that kill humans.

hammerklavier
12-29-2010, 06:56 PM
If there was more than one wolf, one would occupy the animal from the front while others attacked from the sides.

Bushrat
12-30-2010, 03:31 AM
There is no documented death caused by a healthy wild wolf in North America. People have been killed by healthy wolves on other continents though. And there have been plenty of attacks in North America, even though none of them resulted in a dead human.

This study was put together by wildlife biologist Mark McNay. He found 39 cases of healthy North American wolves showing aggression toward humans and a bunch more of non aggressive fearless wolves.
http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/pubs/techpubs/research_pdfs/techb13p1.pdf


That link doesn't work, so I can't respond to that part of your post, although I don't see anything wrong with wolves showing aggression towards humans - moose, deer, birds, wasps, cats, other humans, they all show aggression towards us. Why should wolves be exempt from telling us off?

I'd be interested to know which other continents you're referring to, though, where wolves supposedly kill people. And also about the "plenty of attacks in North America", because I sure haven't heard about anything like that.
I do know that a few years ago a mine woker in Saskatchewan was killed by wolves but the workers had been feeding the animals at the dump, which IMO is always asking for trouble when you're dealing with wild animals. So I would not classify that as a "wild" wolf attack. Dump animals often end up causing problems.


My cousin works in a diamond mine in the Yukon, and ended up treed by a pack of very desperate wolves who by his account would have definitely eaten him if he hadn't climbed out of reach. You have to figure, these are social carnivores, opportunistic feeders, and if they are hungry and desperate enough will take advantage of animals made of meat (us!).

Unless the wolves had been trained by the workers to associate humans with food, I don't believe they would have eaten him.

See, the problem with these "scary animal encounters" stories is always that the person was scared. People who are afraid of dogs will always be convinced that any dog that runs up to them and barks, maybe even jumps at them, is going for their jugular. Being afraid during an encounter with a wolf or bear or dog does not equal being under immediate threat of annihilation - the person thinks that, but that doesn't make it true.

And actually, there are no diamond mines in the Yukon.


My sister lives in Fairbanks. During the winter a pack of about thirty wolves heads into town when food gets scarce. They don't bother the human beings. They eat musher's dogs and garbage. And that's only when they are forced to because there aren't enough wild animals for them to eat.

Oh, wolves do that all over the north, eating dogs when they get a chance, as do coyotes. Because canines are part of their menu. It just doesn't make it into the news unless it happens in a city and the city folks get shocked :)

Canotila
12-30-2010, 04:25 AM
By a healthy wolf? Hell, they never find half the wolves that kill humans.

The "healthy" part is an assumption made when there are a series of attacks that occur in the same area over a period of months or years. A sick animal, notably rabid, will be dead within weeks of becoming infected and the attacks will stop within a short time frame.

The most dramatic case happened recently in Uttar Pradesh, India. From 1996-97 wolves injured and/or killed 74 children.

In the article I linked to several of the cases where wolves had bitten people or acted fearlessly the wolves had been killed and submitted for rabies testing, and were found to be healthy.

Here's the full address for the article. Sorry it didn't come through the first time. It's honestly very well done, the author divides the cases into different categories based on whether the wolf was acting out of self defense, prey drive, or several other criteria. You'll have to take out the spaces and copy/paste.
http:// www.wildlife.alaska.gov/pubs/techpubs/research_pdfs/techb13p1.pdf (http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/pubs/techpubs/research_pdfs/techb13p1.pdf)

I'll need to e-mail my cousin and find out the name of the mine he was working for. It was definitely a diamond mine, though maybe my memory is off and it was in Northern Territories or something. I'm not sure if it happened while he was working for the mine, or some other time while he was in the area.

Anyway, while healthy wolves rarely attack people I'd still not go out defenseless. There are always wolves habituated to humans, and rabid animals out there. Not to mention most places where wolves live have grizzlies as well. Better safe than sorry.



Oh, wolves do that all over the north, eating dogs when they get a chance, as do coyotes. Because canines are part of their menu. It just doesn't make it into the news unless it happens in a city and the city folks get shocked :)

It definitely doesn't surprise me. Honestly I'd think folks would come up with a way to house their dogs that prevents wild animals from having access to them.

We had a coyote climb the fence into our dog paddock once. Turns out trying to attack two wolfhounds at once is a very bad idea. I guess that coyote didn't really need to pass its genes on.

Edit: Sorry, I missed this and just wanted to clarify:

That link doesn't work, so I can't respond to that part of your post, although I don't see anything wrong with wolves showing aggression towards humans - moose, deer, birds, wasps, cats, other humans, they all show aggression towards us. Why should wolves be exempt from telling us off?


I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all. It's just important to acknowledge that it does happen. All those animals you've listed are dangerous. They have all attacked and killed humans before. Heck, I am utterly terrified of moose far more than any large mammal in the world. When they stomp you, they don't stop until there's nothing left but mud. Wolves are large carnivores and when they show aggression toward us they aren't just being little mystical forest spirits that mean no harm. Like all animals, they can hurt us and people need to respect that.

I do think wolves deserve all the protections they have and more. People also need to be aware of the risks of interacting with them and other wild animals, and they need to respect them for what they are capable of doing.

Bushrat
12-30-2010, 05:07 AM
Thanks for posting the link again! Since it doesn't describe the incidents, I can't say I find it informative, though. It's just information derived from a number of people who have had wolf encounters but how can one determine what actually happened? The pack of 13 approaching my boyfriend and the three wolves running along with the cross country skier could be classified into completely different categories, depending what kind of tale the person who experienced made out of it. Same with the wolves on Ellesmere who think nothing of walking right up to people.
As for the situations mentioned in the study where wolves bit people, it would be good to know how and why. Obviously, even those wolves weren't into killing the people they bit because otherwise they would have made a decent job of it. Dogs kill people with relative ease, after all.

The reality is that if a wolf wanted to, he could snack on hikers to his belly's content. But the fact is, they just don't do it. Those 13 wolves could have eaten my boyfriend, no problem, same with the three wolves and the cross country skier. It really depends 100% on the person how they interpret wildlife encounters. The skier could also have said that those wolves were out to kill him and he just barely fought them off with his ski poles same as your cousin who just barely escaped into the tree :)

I totally agree that the dog owners are to blame if they leave their dogs chained up outside like so many take-out steaks and then they get eaten. Most professional mushers up here and people who care have a fence. And the funny thing is that if a dog gets hit by a car, there is no outcry to kill all motorists :)

I have trouble believing those tales from India; there is so much warped info out there about "dangerous" wildlife in order to justify culling (as will happen again in Alaska this winter) or the spread of industrial or agricultural development, I'd take it with a large grain of salt.

I currently have four wolves who wander by the cabin every few days, trying unsucessfully to take down one of the five moose in the area. I don't walk around toting a gun and my bear spray is in hibernation until spring; really, people are by far the most dangerous animal out there. And fortunately, there are none of them here :)

Oh, and that's just the cutest dog in a swing I've ever seen!