December 3, 2022

One Heck Of A Wolf Story

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Rod Davis sent me this story. I have tried unsuccessfully to verify its authenticity. If the date of the wolf attack ocurred at indicated in the story, it may be too soon to know if it is true. I generally will not post information unless verified but whether true or not, it’s quite a story – complete with two pictures. You decide! If anyone can help out with authentication, please let me know.

Lady and Blackey: Cry Wolf

By Scott Richard

Hi, my name is Scott Richards and I have lived in Grangeville , Idaho for the last 17 years. I have enjoyed training my hunting dogs for the past 34 years. To do this it takes a great deal of love for your dogs and for the great outdoors. I have always prided myself in the manner of which I train my dogs and take care of them. When I choose a new pup he or she spends the first 6 months of their life in my house. They are loved and a bond is there forever. I do not believe there are bad dog’s, just inexperienced owners. I have spent the last 4 years trying to introduce this sport to as many young people as I could. My photo albums are full of pictures with children setting under a tree with the dogs telling them good job. That has all changed now! The reason I am writing this story is not to debate whether the Canadian gray wolf should be or should not be here. I am not going to debate anyone about how many wolfs are really in the state of Idaho . I will say our Elk, Moose and Deer populations are in serious trouble now! The real reason I am telling this story is that I have a conscience, and what happened to my dogs and me last Wednesday 5/25/2006 at 9:45 in the morning. It’s been a few days now and the shock has turned from fear to disbelief to anger and now the major concern for the safety of anyone who lives in or visits are state. My life that I have loved raising and training these special working dogs is now over.

Crying wolf!!

This Wednesday morning started like most days when I am training dogs. I was a few miles from my house and turned up the hill on the Service Flats Road . I let my dogs out of the box; jumped into my truck and followed them up the road for a mile letting them clean out. I had 8 dogs with me and 7 of them were very experienced 2, 3, and 4 year olds. I had one 5 month old pup. I loaded 4 dogs on the top of the box and 4 inside the box. I did not have to drive far and the dogs sounded off letting me know a bear had crossed the road. My friend Bryon had driven up from Lewiston to train some of his young dogs. I turned out a 4 year old named Jasper, he left the road and let me know the track was fresh. I told Bryon turn his dogs loose as I did. They quickly dropped into a canyon where bears hang in the brushy bottoms in daylight hours. When all the dogs reached the bottom 5 dogs went up the other side of the canyon headed toward Fish Creek campground. The other group of dogs came right back up the hill to us. They put the bears in a tree 20 minutes later. The other group of dogs treed about the same time about 1- 1/2 miles away. Bryon and I went to the nearest dogs first. When we were under the tree we found they had a mature sow and a 2-year-old cub. We took a few pictures and we were back in the trucks ready to go to the other dogs. We drove back up to where we heard the group of 5 dogs top over and shortly there after tree the bear. When we checked where the dogs still had the bear treed. We drove as close as we could & stopped and listened, they were about 4 hundred yards away treeing solid. I made the decision to move the truck 200 yards to the low side of the saddle; this would be an easy way back with the dogs. When Bryon and I crested the hill instead of hearing a roar of barking dogs treeing we heard nothing. We were looking at each other like where did they go; we just heard them there 5 minutes ago. Then one dog barked in one place another barked 50 yards away. I said to Bryon that neither dog that we heard sounded like any of our dogs. He agreed. Then I heard a dog bark that I new was mine, but at the end of his bark there was a sharp yelp. Bryon and I headed down the hill in a hurry about 75 yards apart. About 300 yards down the hill I was stopped dead in my tracks by a big dark colored wolf. My Blackey dog was getting attacked, I was 20 yards away now and closing fast, screaming and yelling as I ran. I stopped at about 12 feet from the wolf and even though I was screaming and waving my arms the wolf did not break from the attack. Every time Blackey tried to run the wolf would sink his teeth into Blackey’s hindquarters. All the while I was screaming louder than I ever screamed in my life. Without any thought I picked up a 4-foot stick, stepped toward the wolf swung and hit a tree. When the branch went crack and the tree went thud the wolf instantly lunged at me. I remember thinking I was going to die. I ran from tree to tree straight up hill towards my truck. When that wolf lunged at me I believed I would have been seriously hurt or dead if not for Blackey. I did not see what took place, but what I heard was my dog giving his life to save me. As I reached the truck Bryon was digging in his truck for a gun. As I ran up he started yelling we got wolfs! I was trying to listen to him as I was searching for a gun as I took my pistol in my hand and turned toward Bryon, when I looked into his eyes I realized I was not the only one threatened by wolfs. We were heading back down to see if we could save Blackey or Lady or Halley, but there was no sound. I wanted to here a bell dingle or a bark but nothing. As Bryon and I hurried back to the truck to get my tracking box, I finally understood Bryon was able to fight off 3 wolfs and save 2 dogs. Snyper and Bullet, they were safe in the dog box with no life threatening injuries. With the tracking box in hand I tuned in on Ladies tracking collar and said to Bryon not Lady not Lady, but I new she was dead. Then I tuned to Blackey, and said to Bryon, he was dead, and then I tuned in Halley’s collar. 1 beep every 4 seconds that means all 3 dogs had not moved for at least 5 minutes. All dead! I was just standing there in shock. We decided to look for Halley first we were getting real close the receiver was pegging the needle on close and turned way down. I knew a few more steps and I would be looking at one of my babies. My heart skipped a beat when Halley’s tree switch went off, I didn’t know if she was alive or if a wolf was dragging her off. We ran the direction the needle was pointing and in a few yards there she was. She was trying to get up, her stomach was ripped open and her guts were hanging out a foot. She had over 60 bite marks deep gashes all over her body. Her stomach was torn in multiple spots. Bryon went into action, off came his shirt and we wrapped it tightly around her stomach. I carried her back to Bryon’s truck put her in the front seat and Brian headed for the Vets. I remember thinking I wouldn’t see Halley alive again. I started tracking Blacky next; it did not take long to find him. He wasn’t far from where the wolf came after me. He was dead and lying in a pool of his own blood. He was bit and torn so full of holes I just fell to the ground bawling and crying. I could not quit thinking he gave his life to save me. I was sitting there when it hit me Lady, better get to Lady. When I tuned her in I new she was within a 100 yards. I lined up with her collar and next thing I knew there she laid in a heap, her eyes wide open looking straight into my eyes. For one second I thought she might be alive. When I knelt down beside her I new she was dead. Its very hard to describe the type of death these dogs were handed. It was easy to see that the wolfs want to cripple there prey, torture it and then kill it. I have never seen a worse way for any animal or person to die. I made it back to town and took care of my dogs that made it through this nightmare that happened in the light of day. Then I headed to see if Halley needed to be buried. When I walked into the veterinarian’s office I was greeted with, Did you find the rest of your dogs? I tried to say they were all dead but could not get the words out; all I could do is cry. After a few minutes standing alone I heard a voice behind me say Halley is still alive do you want to see her? I instantly headed for the back room and when I turned the corner I saw this little black ball covered in stitches swollen twice her normal size. I stopped and said out loud oh my God Halley what have they done to you? When she heard me say her name she lifted her head, whined and waged her tail. I kneeled down and held her and comforted her. The whole time wondering if she was the lucky one or was Blackey and Lady the lucky ones. When I looked into her eyes it was easy to see the only reason she was still alive, the wolfs had choked her out. Her eyes were full of blood, they had left her for dead. The Doc said it was a miracle she was alive at all. Her lungs were badly damaged but what most concerned us all was infection from all the tears and bites. I knew this little dog had more heart and desire then a 1200lb grizzly bear and yet was as gentle with my granddaughters as my chocolate lab. If it were just a fight with infection she would win. So on the way home I called the Idaho Fish and Game to report what had happened. They were very understanding and I could tell they were sincere when they said they were sorry for my loss. They also made it clear there was nothing they could do for me and that there hands were tied. They said they would write the report, and call the federal agent. Justin the government trapper contacted me by phone and arranged to meet me first light in the morning. We were at the site of the attack early the next morning. We went to the site where I had laid Lady in the shade. She was gone without a trace. So I took Justin to where Blackey was laying and he had also disappeared. We searched around and found nothing. About that time a crow down below me called three times so we walked toward the sound. It did not take long and we
were standing over the remains of the dog that saved me from harm. All that was left of him was his head and backbone. Had we been an hour later there would have been nothing left of him. We had spooked the wolfs off while they were finishing there prey. In 5 hours all we found of Lady was a pile of fresh wolf scat full of white, brown and black dog hair. Lady was a tri-colored walker, that color. Justin and I buried what was left of Blackey. We piled heavy stones on his grave and I walked away thinking that it could have been me. I could have been just a pile of wolf scat lying on the ground and leaving people wonder where I had disappeared to. I couldn’t help but think of the 22-year-old man who was killed and eaten by wolfs in Canada this winter. There’s been a slaughter on hound dogs and pets in Idaho and it is getting worse daily. I have been assured that if these wolfs kill any cows or sheep, goats, pigs, horses they will become a problem and will be dealt with, and the owners will be compensated. That’s a relief!! Dogs have no value to anyone in the government it seems. So what I love to do is over, I will not send another dog to slaughter or feed another starving wolf pack. My concerns now are that the wolfs are running out of easy prey and are now eating dogs. In wet muddy areas where elk and moose have always been plentiful, I no longer can find even a track. Per haps aliens took them off to a safer planet. I hope you did not find that funny. This is the first documented case in Idaho where the wolfs have eaten a dog after killing it. The real reason I had to write this story is Public safety. The people who live in this wonderful state are being left clueless to the dangers that await them, in our national forests. The general public is unaware of the danger that awaits them in our national forest and else where. Since I retired I have spent no less then 4 days a week in the mountains, what has amazed me are how many of these wolfs are right around peoples homes. When they are out of easy prey be ready. For as long as I can remember when you were in the mountains for any reason a dog by your side was a great defense to warn you of predators. I to believed in this. But now a dog is nothing more than bait to lure wolfs to you. Recently while cougar hunting with an associate of mine who is a licensed guide like myself had a wolf encounter. He was cougar hunting with a dog on a leash when three wolfs charged up on him. With waving arms and a screaming voice he was able to persuade them to leave, but what if they had been a little hungrier? Your natural instinct will be to defend your companion. I am not saying to leave your friend at home but be prepared. Put a bell or a beeper on him or her so you know where they are at all times. The most important thing is to pack a firearm! I personally believe pepper spray will not work in a pack attack. Keep your dogs quiet when you are walking, no barking. If they are tied up in camp, no barking. And for Gods sake don’t let your children play with your pets and have them barking while there playing. My personal belief is the war has been lost, its to late to save are big game herds in my lifetime. The perfect plan to end our hunting in Idaho , Montana , Wyoming and soon Washington , Oregon and the entire Rocky Mountain Range. It’s fool proof and would take an order from the President to change it. So what I have loved to do for most of my life is over. So enjoy while you still can, be prepared, pack a gun! I prey you never encounter a pack of Canadian gray wolfs.

Tom Remington