January 31, 2023

Experts Question Wildlife Experts Questioning Account of Wolf Attack

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The story goes that Dawn Hepp was traveling in Manitoba, Canada, on Highway 6 north of Winnepeg, when she stopped to help another motorist. After stopping, she claims she was attacked by a wolf. And now so-called “experts” are doubting the details of this woman’s account of what happened.

You can read the story and see photos of the bite and scratch marks on her neck by clicking this link.

From a different perspective on this, after reading this account, it is just as easy to doubt that the so-called “wildlife experts” know which end is up when it comes to wolves, even if one has written a book about it.

I’ve read the account and find the woman’s details a bit odd, casting some doubt about what really happened. However, reading what the experts had to say about wolf behavior only shows their ignorance of wolf behavior and casts just as many doubts as to the reliability of their information. Whether the accounts, as described by Dawn Hepp, are totally accurate may not matter in the long run. If the wolf had rabies, it could explain the seemingly odd behavior of the wild dog, if that’s what it was.

According to this one article, consider the account given by Hepp:

Dawn Hepp told news media this week a wolf attacked her when she stopped to help another motorist by the side of Highway 6 on March 8.

It was near a lonely stretch of road close to Grand Rapids, 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg, and she spotted a timber wolf in the distance but didn’t think anything of it and walked to the other car, she said.

“As I turned my back, all of a sudden this wolf jumped me and all I could feel was fur on my face and jaws around my neck…,” Hepp told the National Post. She kept surprisingly calm, as experts advise during such an attack.

“He dug deeper with his teeth. I had my coat on, and so when he went to get a better grip, he let go and then I gave him a look,” Hepp said.

And now read further about the expert details of wolf behavior.

If you were to (re)read Dr. Valerius Geist’s progressive steps that would cause a wolf to attack a human, I can possibly see this wolf having progressed to a stage of testing his prey. This attack would fit Geist’s description:

6) Wolves turn their attention to people and approach them closely, initially merely examining them closely for several minutes on end. This is a switch from establishing territory to targeting people as prey. The wolves may make hesitant, almost playful attacks biting and tearing clothing, nipping at limbs and torso. They withdraw when confronted. They defend kills by moving toward people and growling and barking at them from 10 – 20 paces away.

7) Wolves attack people. These initial attacks are clumsy, as the wolves have not yet learned how to take down the new prey efficiently. Persons attacked can often escape because of the clumsiness of the attacks.

Sure seems to mostly fit from my perspective. In addition, we know nothing of this wolf’s history. Now compare this to what the wrongfully labeled “wildlife experts” had to say about wolf attacks on humans:

“As a matter of fact, in the 25-plus years of my career, this is the first encounter where a person has been attacked,” said Ken Rebizant, the big-game manager in the wildlife branch of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship. “For the most part, wolves avoid people. When you see a wolf, they normally run away from you.”

Wolves tend to run in packs, but there have been cases of attacks by lone wolves.

Sick, weak, injured or protecting a kill could trigger an attack, but in the past 25 years, there have been just five such accounts from Algonquin Park in Ontario, one in Alaska and one on Vancouver Island. The last two involved wolf bites, but none of the attacks killed anybody.

I think the “experts” had better do a little more honest research before they jump to too many conclusions. The victim may be whacked, but I’m already wondering if the so-called experts are equally so.