Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wolf Encounter Makes Ya Think..

Here's an article in the Anchorage Daily News today about a recent wolf encounter. A man hiking Wolverine Peak with his two dogs lost one of them to wolves and got stalked himself.

Wolverine Peak is part of Anchorage's "back yard" and one of its more popular day hikes. Approaching 5k elevation, it's also one of the taller peaks in the "front-line" of mountains, with good views of the surrounding range, the city, and some aircraft wreckage on it's NE face. I've hiked it many times and while only e'er seeing fox, goat and piteous stares from fellow hikers as I wheezed my way upwards, I've no doubt that there are bear, wolves and, yes, even wolverines hanging out in the area.

So the summary of this encounter is that guy was hiking the mountain with his two dogs, one goes missing about halfway up the mountain. Walking down into a valley on a tip from fellow hikers, he encounters three wolves.
"That's when the wolves picked up the pace and started trotting toward him, Battle said. The man jogged away. Two wolves approached together and a third circled toward the hiker."
Read more here:
Nice flanking tactics there, wolves. You can read the article for more of the hiker's response to this, but at this point we may want to consider the preferred course of action:

a) Run
b) Yell and make yourself appear large and intimidating
c) Use bear spray on whichever one of three wolves gets closest
d) Pull out the .45 auto
e) Unsling the 12 ga.
f) A & B

While B is the preferred option if one is unarmed, obviously D & E are the preferred augmentations to B. This scenario, while rare, does underscore the limited versatility of bear spray. Not having the flexibility to put the wind against your target, and/or having to quickly react to multiple targets approaching from different directions makes bear spray less than ideal, though certainly better than nothing. Far from Monday-morning quarterbacking, this underscores the value of being proficient with the most appropriate tools for defense, whether in urban or mountainous environs.

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Please be courteous and of good spirit.