BWCA What would you be more frightened of? Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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JimmyJustice
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10/06/2022 04:59PM  
This question was asked last month among some friends, without a clear winner, which might have been because we were having our typical "multi topic all at once discussion". However, now that it is the scary season, this seems an appropriate inquiry:

If you encountered it in camp, what would you be more frightened of...a Black Bear or Wolf?

Happy Halloween.

JJ
 
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MidwestMan
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10/06/2022 06:11PM  
Tough question! The lone wild wolf that I’ve encountered was a big, healthy black wolf. It may have even been huge rather than just big. Not sure because I’m not an expert on wolves and have just seen the one. Regardless, this big guy and I locked eyes for a second or two and then he trotted off quickly. Very quickly. Yet, it was a loose, graceful, unhurried and carefree trot. Because of that wolf’s size, agility, natural speed, and the highly intelligent pair of eyes that it gazed at me with, I gotta say I’d be more afraid of a wolf.
 
Savage Voyageur
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10/06/2022 06:38PM  
I’ve been attacked by a big dog before. I was just walking down our lake road and it came out of nowhere. It did not go very well for him. So I would not be afraid of a wolf.

Black bears don’t want anything to do with you. They only want your food.
 
andym
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10/06/2022 06:50PM  
Bear. There are about twice as many black bears as wolves in the US but far more black bear attacks and fatalities.
 
Minnesotian
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10/06/2022 07:15PM  

Probably the bear, as I assume it was looking or smelling my food and I would have to chase it off but it would probably keep coming back so that would mean eventually I would have to pack up all my stuff and leave the campsite completely.
 
LindenTree
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10/06/2022 08:04PM  
I lived alone, three years in AK, 6.5 miles from my nearest neighbor. Black bears scared me way more than wolves and Brown Bears. Black Bears are not on the top of the food chain in AK and tend to get owly. One time a buddy was camping in my yard on the Kenai Peninsula, a Black Bear sniffed his head through the tent walls, my buddy socked the bear in the snout and sent it off crashing through the woods.
The next morning that bear decided to be a problem in the next campground, luckily it was not dispatched. We took Black bears very seriously in AK.

Two people killed by black bears in Ak in two days.
 
10/06/2022 08:05PM  
I would not be afraid of either. If worried about things like this, stay home.
 
10/06/2022 08:50PM  
Yup.

 
10/06/2022 09:18PM  
neither, but if you throw in mountain lions, I would be afraid. You never know what cats are thinking.
been around black bears almost every day and wolves close by. Zero problems.
Neighbors dog-yes a problem.
 
10/06/2022 09:53PM  
Pinetree: "neither, but if you throw in mountain lions, I would be afraid. You never know what cats are thinking.
been around black bears almost every day and wolves close by. Zero problems.
Neighbors dog-yes a problem."


My sentiments too

T
 
MidwestMan
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10/07/2022 05:31AM  
I had a dream last night that I was a big, bad tough guy. I woke up and officially decided I’d be scared of neither ;)
 
chessie
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10/07/2022 08:53AM  
If, in the moment, I might recall the stats --- zero fatal wolf attacks on humans in the lower 48 in modern times vs. 14 fatal black bear attacks on humans in the lower 48 in modern times, ..... I'd say bear. Having said that, we once really did have a bear stalking our camp, and I remained calmer than I ever thought I would. We departed, btw.
 
10/07/2022 11:27AM  
I misread the original question...although neither are too scary I didn't fully read the part the animal is right in front of you in that moment of time.

In that case it really depends on how they are behaving, but if I have to make a decision I'd say Bear based on size and history in the lower 48.

T
 
JimmyJustice
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10/07/2022 11:34AM  
fadersup: "Yup.


"


I see what you did there. :)
 
JimmyJustice
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10/07/2022 11:35AM  
timatkn: "I misread the original question...although neither are too scary I didn't fully read the part the animal is right in front of you in that moment of time.


In that case it really depends on how they are behaving, but if I have to make a decision I'd say Bear based on size and history in the lower 48.


T"


Yup, while sitting there in camp, tending to your lake trout on the fire...and one of those creatures came to check on you...which one would cause the most fright.

 
10/07/2022 01:09PM  
Neither - an attack is so rare, the stats are on my side. I am more concerned with mice and chipmunks because they put holes in my gear.
 
10/07/2022 03:20PM  
Bear. Hands down. Not because I am worried about an attack, but because he would probably be eyeballing my food, and if he got it, I would have to paddle out early and cut my trip short. LOL.
 
10/07/2022 04:48PM  
Bears and wolfs no-- people and feral pigs yes. Same answer for the BWCA except moose instead of pigs.
 
Duckman
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10/07/2022 08:07PM  
If a normal random encounter in the BDUB, probably rather have the bear in camp. More than likely it’ll be in full giant raccoon mode. Might get my gear, but my group would probably be fine. I’d be more afraid of the wolf, even if the perceived increased danger is only in my head.

If it is a “we’re gonna fight” situation, I don’t know. I’m probably going to get killed either way, but I’m leaning towards the wolf and hoping I outweigh it.
 
missmolly
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10/08/2022 07:49AM  
Bear, for sure, but they don't keep me awake at night.

However, the two scariest mammals are grizzly bears and bad men.
 
10/08/2022 08:02AM  
I was just thinking of this for my upcoming trip. I came to conclude at least for this time of year my list is.

1. Cougar: I don't need a cat potentially hunting me.

2. Moose: bc I think it is rutting season and I am already nervous when they get close I don't like the thought of them being aggressive. And I see them on almost every trip and I know they are in the area I am going.

3. Wolf: I don't know... I hear them a lot but rarely have I seen them. If I saw one in camp it would make me much more uneasy than a bear.

4. Bear: Because I know the reason is my food or at least 99 percent chance its food. And they seem to run off when yelled at.
 
andym
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10/08/2022 09:56AM  
I live in mountain lion territory. They get to the edge of our neighborhood and definitely are around the trails we hike and run. Attacks are very rare and fighting back works. I do avoid running alone at dusk on particularly quiet trails.

However, to put it in the original question I would be really afraid if one came into camp. They are amazingly shy animals. So one coming into a camp would signal something is wrong.
 
10/08/2022 10:58AM  
Not afraid of either... bear would be my concern more for nuisance stuff. Wolves are more of a concern pet wise. Kinda why I don’t leave dog chained up outside when I go somewhere at home.
 
Canoearoo
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10/10/2022 09:30PM  
I have had black bear, wolf, moose, grizzly bear (in mountains) , and beaver in my camp. the most dangerous was obviously the grizzly but the one that tried to kill us was the beaver. He dropped a tree right next to our tent.
 
10/11/2022 08:23AM  
A wolf would not be scary. I see them occasionally, and they disappear pretty fast. I've been a bit nervous in grizzly country at times, and even more nervous in polar bear country when I had seen one earlier in the day... I'm not a fan of being hunted down.
 
Heyfritty
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10/12/2022 05:59PM  
I’m not worried that I would be hurt by either. But, I think the more dangerous of the two would be a bear.

I did have an interesting encounter with a wolf a few years ago. I was exploring our deer hunting territory after the season(probably December). As I walked down the west side of a ridge I saw a large wolf-kill site about 15 yards away.

Blood saturated the snow over an area maybe 10’x20’. There were also smaller patches where the wolves had dragged the deer’s body parts. As I digested what I was seeing, 30 yards from me, a black wolf was slinking away. The wolf was clearly trying to sneak away without being seen. The whole event lasted maybe 20 seconds.

The kill area in relation to my location was at about 2 o’clock and I saw the wolf at about 11 o’clock. Afterwards, I could see that the site was at least 24 hours old. Most of the bones had been stripped pretty clean.

It certainly got my heart pumping. I wasn’t carrying a gun, but I did pull out my pocket knife despite my rational understanding that I was not in danger.

Where we hunt, there is a lot of wolf sign and we frequently hear them howling, but over 22 years in our current spot, it was only the 2nd time one of us had spotted a wolf(we hunt for over 80 man-days each year). And I believe that is because they want it that way.

In my 45 years of deer hunting I have also come across 2 other recent kills. This encounter will always be one of my most favorite experiences in nature. They are such elegant creatures.

Fritty
 
carbon1
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10/13/2022 08:00AM  
I live in prime black bear and wolf country.

I have seen bears and wolves in the last month.

I have pictures on my game cams of 6 different bears within a half of mile of my house. Some has close as a 100 yards.

I have pictures of a pack of wolves on the same game cam 100 yards from the house.

Both can do you bodily harm if they desire to. I have had both within 25 feet of me on several occasions.

I respect both of them.

But would not be to concerned about shooting either if they threatened me.

Yes I am armed anytime I am outside.

 
Banksiana
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10/13/2022 09:12AM  
I've lived in wolf and black bear country for over 35 years. I have seen wolves and bears in the last week.

I have been very close to both.

I respect both.
I spend large amounts of time alone in the woods.
I don't fear either and never feel the need to be armed.
 
10/13/2022 09:56AM  
We’ve done many winter trips cold camping. It’s always an eye opener to see wolf tracks as they had been circling our site during the night. I never gave them a second thought.
 
mjmkjun
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10/13/2022 10:28AM  
Lone Wolf or Lone Black Bear.......neither. (cautious but not frightened)
Near starving lone wolf or lone black bear.......either. They get bolder and more desperate in this scenario.
Pack of wolves......Absolutely! find a tree to climb. bring w/ water & a snack. your wait time may be extended.
 
Basspro69
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10/27/2022 11:49PM  
A Bull Moose in the rut ( I have a very personal experience with this). To answer the question I would say a wolf, I’m
Not worried about black bears .
 
ockycamper
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10/30/2022 12:29PM  
As to being frightened. . . .our camps are always armed with weapons that would have no problem handling either. The are also all trained in their use. As such, I don't believe our men would be frightened by either.

That said, wolves travel in packs. I have never experienced two adult bears together. So I would far more concerned about wolves then bears.
 
MidwestMan
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10/30/2022 03:33PM  
ockycamper: "As to being frightened. . . .our camps are always armed with weapons that would have no problem handling either. The are also all trained in their use. As such, I don't believe our men would be frightened by either.


That said, wolves travel in packs. I have never experienced two adult bears together. So I would far more concerned about wolves then bears."


Have you or your men ever had to draw and/or use a firearm on any of your explorations? Just curious. Not trying to stir the pot.
 
ockycamper
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10/30/2022 03:42PM  
Never had to. All our guys are trained in animal deterrance.

We go over:

gather together and make noise

throw things at the bear (if a bear)

if the bear won't leave, each camp has bear spray

If the bear is still a nuisance, we leave and choose a different camp site.

We have never had a bear in camp. However we have had a moose in camp almost every year. We just get out of the way and it wanders on its way.

I have emphasized that shooting an animal of any type in the BWCA will result in a very unpleasant conversation with the forest service. So pulling a firearm and firing is only last resort and in the occasion of an actual attack. Finally, every individual that has a firearm on our teams is an experience hunter as well.

 
Sparkeh
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10/30/2022 04:15PM  
Neither. A threatening witch or clown laughing behind camp sounds way more scary.
 
gravelroad
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10/30/2022 06:27PM  
Was it before or after October 16th? :-)

 
woodsandwater
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10/31/2022 07:23AM  
I used to be a Wolf Researcher and always felt very blessed to see or encounter one. Even walked into a pup nursery once, saw two, adults scattered. I felt no fear. I am more concerned about bears.
 
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