Montana News

Nov 4, 2010 6:02 PM by Mark Thorsell (KPAX)

Hunter recalls encounter with Flathead wolf pack

An encounter with a wolf pack in Flathead County has left one wolf dead, and two hunters shaken up.

Mark Appleby and a friend killed an elk near the South Fork of the Flathead on Friday, October 29th. They went back with horses to the site on Saturday to retrieve the meat, and as they were trying to pack out the elk, a pack of wolves surrounded the pair and began moving towards the meat - and the men.

Appleby told Montana's News Station what happened: "As we started to load the meat, my horses started flipping out. Blowing air out of their mouths and there was definitely something going on. So I went over to my horse, turned around, and he was looking over my head. And at that point there was a bunch of wolves running at us. It was an open snow where you could see short trees and so when I went for my gun, my buddy shot in the air and stopped 'em, with a .44 pistol. Thank God he had that, 'cause our guns were on the other side of the road and I had to run towards the wolves to get my gun. I think they would have been on us at that time if we didn't have the pistol."

Appleby also said the wolves continued to stay and act aggressive, even after his friend fired those shots in the air.

After the incident, Appleby contacted FWP, and on Monday warden John Fraley accompanied the hunters back to the site.

Fraley documented that one wolf was killed, and multiple tracks at the site confirmed that a pack of wolves had been present. The elk had been fed on by wolves and a grizzly bear.

Because wolves are federally classified as endangered, FWP has turned over the information to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent who will follow up on the incident.