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US Forest Service researcher treed by wolves


Washington Wolves
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Salmon research can be dangerous when you’re near an active wolf den. Last week, a female seasonal researcher with the U.S. Forest Service narrowly missed being killed by wolves in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. The woman, who said she did hear yips and barks prior to the attack, had to climb 30’ into a tree after “efforts to scare off two adult gray wolves by yelling and using bear spray were unsuccessful,” the Methow Valley News reports. Fortunately, a Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) helicopter was stationed nearby and officers were able to rescue the woman. She was found in a tree with the two wolves circling her.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the researcher was close to a wolf denning site or rendezvous area—an area where pups live temporarily until they are old enough to join the pack as adults—and the wolves were members of the Loup Loup pack. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) confirmed that, according to GPS data, the researcher was near a den site.

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Joe Stohr, acting director of WDFW, told the Methow Valley News that “it’s common for wolves to bark, howl and approach people or other animals when protecting their pups.”

The incident occurred around the Tiffany Springs campground and officers with the WDNR were told they could kill the wolves if the animals were still “surrounding the female,” the Methow Valley News reports. However, once the helicopter arrived, both wolves fled the scene.

The woman, who remains unidentified, was unharmed during the incident.


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Jeff B. - posted 8 months ago on 07-23-2018 07:37:21 pm

This what we've been dealing with in Idaho for twenty years. Washington State is the latest victim of the USFWS stuffing the wolf program down our throats.

Cindy T. - posted 8 months ago on 07-21-2018 10:23:54 am

This is CRAP!!!!!!! What's it going to take found theses people to realize the wolf's are out of control ! !!!! You say they two had been circling her and had they been circling her they would have been killed.. what a joke ... Ya any animal would run off if a helicopter flew down at them. What if that was a family camping in the nearby campground an the parents and kids were just hiking an they would have attached and killed a kid??? Oh wait the wolf's are innocent an the family was in the wrong!!!!!! Just like all the ranchers are wrong because they kill the wolf's that attach and kill their livestock over and over, or humans are wrong because they go to fish an game and complain that our deer and elk and other animals are being demolished. But wait the wolf are so endangered LOL that you continue to sit back and make excuses for the wolf.. Main while ranches suffer and lose thousands of dollars in livestock , we are have are elk deer an ect: wiped out out. OPEN YOUR EYES FISH AND GAME AN FOR ST SERVICE... When is enough enough!!!!! When do you start protecting the right things????? I'm am not going to get in a piss in match or in gage in a argument with anyone.. Everyone has a right to their own opinions an this is mine and allot of ranchers that are personal friends along with fellows hunters..

Jared A. - posted 8 months ago on 07-19-2018 07:01:56 pm

Good job lady bit do go into the woods unarmed we had wolfs scouting our camp last winter but like I told the others unless you mess with there pups or food they normally won't attack but they are very curious animals but I didn't agree with transplanting them here in the first place but if you think this is bad they are thinking of reinducing the grizzly bear here in Eastern Washington the wolfs are nothing compared to the grizzly every time you reintroduce a carnavor preditor crap like this happens thank you tree hugging liberal idiotic jack asses

Dustin F. - posted 8 months ago on 07-19-2018 09:51:22 am
Carmel Valley, CA

I have not conducted historical research on the WDFW law and policy informing self-protection of researchers, but presume the law is to maintain scientific prioritization of "objectivity" and to prevent potential liability cases. Nonetheless, prohibiting any person from possessing a firearm in the Wilderness is un-necessary and un-constitutional. That's one reason I'm not a US Forest Service Researcher. All Fish & Wildlife programs should revise policies to ensure individuals, should they want it, have protection both physically and "legally". Thankfully, the researcher was a skilled tree climber and received rescue.

Keith M. - posted 9 months ago on 07-18-2018 09:19:13 am

That is why you should always carry a sidearm.

Vicki H. - posted 9 months ago on 07-17-2018 11:31:10 pm

Curious as to how the WDFW is completely aware of the geographical location of the dens sites, but the US FS seasoned researcher has no knowledge of this??? Not to mention that she was completely unprotected!!! Is this protocol for USFS to send there researchers out in the wilderness, damn well knowing that their survival skills may fall short because they aren’t in their own environment?? That’s their playground and if you decide to take part you best be ready for survival of the fittest, cause that’s how they play. This is asking for trouble and that’s what happened, thank goodness she was able to get somewhere and able to call for help!!!

Dan D. - posted 9 months ago on 07-17-2018 04:03:13 pm

I guess forset service employees really are tree huggers.

Erik S. - posted 9 months ago on 07-17-2018 10:50:13 am

I would shard my pants and be more pissed I am not allowed to carry a firearm into the wilderness in that profession. Good thing there was a climbable tree there...