BWCA 2012 Wilderness Challenge #2 (The Eyes Have It) Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wilderness Challenges
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      2012 Wilderness Challenge #2 (The Eyes Have It)     



distinguished member(3141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2012 05:21AM  
This is #2 of 5 Wilderness Challenges- 2012 that I will be posting.

The purpose of these is to get feedback on what you would do under these circumstances. I'm not looking for a "Right Answer" I'm looking to see how the many very knowledgeable people here on would react in a time of decision in Canoe Country.

Challenge #2: (“The Eyes Have It”)

Situation: You are traveling in a party of 4 (Combined crew weight of 800 lbs) in two rental Old Town Penobscot 17 foot Royalex Canoes (max load weight of 1100-1150 Lbs). You are carrying 4 large packs, 4 smaller personal packs and misc. fishing gear with a total gear weight of approximately 350 lbs split evenly between the two canoes.

This is Day 3 of a 10 Day Trip through the Quetico, the route will take you to self permit at Cache Bay Ranger Station and head through Silver Falls towards the Falls Chain, Lake Kawnipi and back down through Lake Agnes.


You have survived capsizing both boats in Ice filled waters and managed to pull yourselves together and continue the trip.

The Current Situation:

Date is April 15th.

Weather: Winds are steady 5-7 MPH from the SW with occasional gusts to 10-15 MPH

Temperature: 59 Degrees (unseasonably warm)

Sky: Clear and Very Sunny.

Your Current Location:

You are currently located on Lake Kawnipi in the vicinity of Atkins Bay (several days travel into Quetico)

You have stopped early this day to set up camp to relax, fish and swim.

The Challenge:

Throughout the afternoon as you have been setting up camp, you have seen “flashes” of movement in the woods surrounding camp.

Night has fallen and it is a moonless night.

You have finished supper and are chatting around the fire and start hearing movement in the woods.

Using your flashlight you began to scan the woods around you.

You see reflective eyes, not one pair but several and they are Wolves circling your camp.

What Now?

Please post your response before reading others so that we can get as many different perspectives as possible.

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03/17/2012 05:51AM  
Go back to talking and then go to bed with the bear spray just inside the tent door.
distinguished member(4401)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/17/2012 05:53AM  
Go to sleep.

03/17/2012 05:55AM  
Depends on the behavior and body language of the wolves. It's extremely rare that wolves are aggressive towards humans and so the most likely scenario is that they are just curious and would move on fairly quickly. I've seen wolves in the woods before hunting and they have always either been running away or they seemed to take note of me and then just move on in a kind of nonchalant way. One thing I've always thought awesome about wolves is how quickly and quietly they can move through the woods, it's almost like they just float over the ground.

Entertaining the possibility that they are actually acting aggressively you have several options:
-Firearm, fire a warning shot and chances are they will go away, if they actually attack then you have a just reason to kill in self defense (only a last resort).
-Bear spray, it would work on wolves as well.
-Hold your ground, make a lot of noise and throw rocks, etc. Never run from a predator in the wild, it triggers their instinct to attack.
-Use your campfire to your advantage, all wild animals are instinctively scared of fire. Get it roaring, maybe even make some torches.
-Get in your canoes, they can't attack you in the water.
-If all else fails, climb a tree.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14425)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
03/17/2012 06:06AM  
It would be very unusual for wolves to attack humans in the BWCA or Q. I would build a fire and talk until about midnight and go to sleep in the hammock.
03/17/2012 06:58AM  
Well, I can't imagine doing much swimming on the 15th of April but I digress. I'm not ashamed to admit I might be a little unnerved to have a pack of wolves circling my tent in the middle of the night. Common sense would however quickly prevail and I believe I would truly enjoy this unique wilderness moment which few have ever had the opportunity to experience.

The wolves are probably just curious and history would suggest that they do not present any real threat. That being said, I would probably have my bear spray in my hand. After all, the story about the big bad wolf is a little scary.
03/17/2012 07:35AM  
There's a great campfire story about just such an experience......the teller reels everyone in by quietly explaining the situation as described in the challenge.

"Then I spotted the Alpha Male. It soon became a staring contest. I knew that I couldn't divert my gaze, because he'd have me by the throat in a second.

I slowly backed up, never diverting my gaze from the steely eyes of the Alpha Male. I knew there was a sturdy pine tree only a few yards behind me.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I reached the pine and quickly climbed it's branches, just as the Alpha Male made his move! The pack was right behind him....They began circling my tree with hungry apprehension!

So there we sat until dawn. I knew I was safe from the clutches of the pack in my sturdy pine.

One by one, the wolves lost interest and wandered away into the darkness of the forest around us........all except the Alpha Male.

It seemed like hours until the sun began to make it's presence known. With the comforting light and the warmth of the sun, I could tell the resolve of the hungry Alpha Male was beginning to waver. All I had to do was be patient, and not stir from my roost.

Eventually, the Alpha Male also tired of this endless game, and slowly slunk away.

After about another hour of sitting in the tree, I decided it was safe to begin the climb down.........

Suddenly I heard a rustling in the bushes, and with my heart racing, once more up the tree I raced!

And what to my amazed eyes should appear........The Alpha Male was back!! But this time I noticed a certain gleam in his eye.....and as he approached, I could begin to make out that he was carrying some sort of object in his mouth.......OH NO! OH NO! I was now filled with dread and apprehension.........The object was none other than a live beaver!!!!!!!"
03/17/2012 07:55AM  
by being a group of 4 i would have little worry, it would be freaky for sure but eventually id sleep ok...with my knife at hand. id consider the situation unique and a great memory maker.
03/17/2012 08:01AM  
Thought 1: Well we're on Kawinipi after several days of travel and it's April 15th so we're dog sledding and the wolves are interested in our huskies for dinner. j/k

Thought 2: The wolf pack is starving from a winter that lacked snowfall and ready to make a desperate decision! The deep snow tilts the advantage to the wolf's snowshoe paw over its hoofed prey so I would see this spring's challenge are a possibility of sorts.
I'd get the pocket knife out, climb a tree and break off a 5 foot branch and whittle a sharp end and spear the crazed hungered beasts from the safety of the tree until they realize our group of 4 is not the best thing to target. You can turn you back on a wolf but not a disease.
03/17/2012 08:14AM  
I'd just choose to sit back and enjoy the nature experience with my buddies, hopeful to get some good photos of a wolf pack passing by.
Wolfs are the least likely of North American predators to attack a human being, much less a group.

03/17/2012 07:26PM  
Here is another case where the season is too early. You won't paddle to Kawnipi in mid-April, unless our climate continues to warm.

Back to the challenge though. Entertain the wolves. Talk to them. Don't act afraid. Remember, you are the top dog in the woods and they know it. You are lucky to see them. I've talked to wolves that I have encountered, and if they don't bolt right away, they will be curious for a few seconds and then take off.

That said, keep your food hoisted in a tree, and if you have a dog with, keep it in camp, because wolves will definitely kill dogs. You won't legally have a firearm in Quetico.
member (18)member
03/18/2012 12:10PM  
This situation is one of the reasons I chose to carry my firearm with me in all wilderness areas. I would not want to shoot the wolves, but I would have my weapon drawn (or at least unbuckled in my holster) as we keep an eye on them. Eventually we would try to scare them off if they didn't move along on their own.
03/18/2012 01:04PM  
its illegal to have a firearm in quetico.
distinguished member(2647)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/18/2012 07:05PM  
we had a wolf pack in camp with a 6 week old baby.. they didn't do anything.

I wouldn't worry much. Just have my bear spray in case it was unlikely needed
03/18/2012 07:37PM  
I'd call Liam Neesen. ;-)

I think I'd get our group together to look like something larget and try to scare them off.
distinguished member(4443)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/18/2012 09:32PM  
try for some photos!!..a few flash shots made into posters would pay for a new car....
i would talk to them also.."dudes!!looking good big guys"
no i would not work myself up into some sort of hassle.
distinguished member(1403)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/18/2012 10:16PM  
quote kanoes: "its illegal to have a firearm in quetico."

Not to mention that carrying a *handgun* is illegal in the rest of Canada except for a few dozen people with special exemptions, so you certainly wouldn't be carrying anything in a holster.
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/21/2012 06:37PM  
Throw a few more logs in the fire, try to take some photos - if they are still there, talk a little louder. I would expect them to leave very quickly.
03/21/2012 07:48PM  
I think you wasted 10 bucks on the movie The Gray just like I did.

Grab the longest stick near me for defense, I should also have a knife on me for that as well. Slowly back up to the canoes, get in and get off shore and wait it out til morning. Since I have already stopped for some fishing, I would have some rocks in my anchor bag. I will be able to get off shore and anchor for the night.
03/25/2012 11:04PM  
I am reminded of the young Canadian singer who was killed by a pack of coyotes a couple of years ago...

I'd make noise, keep the campfire going longer and keep my multi-tool with blade out close at hand...not that it would really help much if a wolf really attacked but it would make me feel better. I'd also keep a canoe paddle handy.

If the extra noise and extra hours of fire didn't work I think I would consider posting a watch.

Given that we don't hear of many wolf attacks I think we will come out of this OK...but I think I would find a new camp for the next night.

Now on to see what others have said...
distinguished member (409)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/28/2012 04:25PM  
Enjoy the exciting experience! What a privilege to see wolves!

Drink water and pee on scent posts around your site to mark your territory.

Try and get some cool pics!

Just don't go running through the woods, especially with a limp! ;-)

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