How to survive a wolf attack

Stef Zisovska
Wolf in action

Imagine that you’re having the hike of your dreams, the sun has just set, and you’re heading back to your campsite. All you’re thinking of is a warm supper and maybe a cup of hot chocolate boiled on the campfire. But, what will you do if instead of chilling around your tent, you encounter a wolf or a pack of them? This scenario doesn’t sound fun at all. Fortunately, wolf encounters and especially wolf attacks are rare. In case you get attacked by a wolf while wandering around in the wilderness, here’s what you should do.

Wolfs are strong beasts that can tear you apart in a second, but they are not natural human hunters. Unless you invade their territory or threaten their life, you’re safe. If a wolf approaches you, be aware that there’s a group of friends following him. If it’s just one, avoid staring at its eyes as the wolf can read it as a challenge, and then you’re doomed.

Instead, try looking at the ground and move back slowly without making eye contact. It can happen that the animal is not interested in your manipulation game, so you would need to change the tactic. If the wolf keeps hanging around, raise your arms slowly in the air. This way you’ll look bigger and wider, which will probably make the wolf think twice before attacking a double-sized prey.

The spine-tingling howl of a wolf is enough to fill us with dread
The spine-tingling howl of a wolf is enough to fill us with dread

If the wolf is still stubborn and has no idea about leaving the battlefield, take this a sign it may an attack. Wolves show aggression by growling, snarling, raising their tail up and baring their teeth. If the wolf is being aggressive, then yell as loud as you can, and make a noise. Throw stones or any other solid objects at the wolf and try to back up slowly. If necessary, start growling and show aggression too, but only if you see that your wolf won’t back off.

If the wolf decides to attack you despite all the things you’re doing, then you would need to fight back and become a wild animal. The reason a wolf is attacking is that they like an easy catch that can’t fight back. If they see as stronger than you are, if you fight with aggression and endanger their life, you may have chances to survive and scare the wolf pack off.

The gray wolf (timber wolf) is only found in a few states today
The gray wolf (timber wolf) is only found in a few states today

It’s always good to shout at wolves and let them know that you’re not the victim. While doing so, try to hide your fear as much as you can, because wild animals can smell fear which encourages them to hunt you. Project your voice, be loud, and try not to fall on the ground while moving backward. If a wolf sees you down, it will attack you for sure. If you have a jacket or a blanket, spread it above your head, so you look even bigger.

When hiking alone, always have a knife handy. It will help you in self-defense. But, if possible, don’t be alone in the wilderness. A lone person in the woods at night is more vulnerable than a group of loud friends. The chances of being attacked by wolves is low not only because wolves in the wilderness are very afraid of humans and try their best to avoid them, but also because the chances of being where wolves travel freely are also fairly slim.

Wolves playing
Wolves playing

Wolves need 10 square miles per wolf which means you’re not likely to meet them. If you are near wolves, it’s because you walked a lot to find them. Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival