Hiking Bag Adventures - 10 Facts About Wolves

Hiking bag backpack trips often include exposure to wolves. These carnivores often depict an animal that will scare and attack you. Do you or a loved one you want to join you in a backpacking trip fear wolves?  Outdoor enthusiasts are wise to let a certain amount of fear keep them alert, however, wolves don't normally pose a threat to humans from a distance.  Normally wolves are secretive and will run away when they encounter people. Here is some great information to eliminate your fear of wolves while hiking and camping.

Hiking Bag Backpackers - Keep Your Distance

Remember, you are a guest in wildlife environment. The greater the space between people and wolves, the safer it is for both of them. Do not approach wolves ever. This practice gets wolves used to humans and their scents which results in human habituation.

When hiking with kids, always keep them nearby and in sight. Keep pets leashed and under control. If possible, for their own safety, keep pets at home.

Wolves have about 200 million scent cells allowing them to smell other animals more than one mile away. Humans have only about 5 million. Under certain conditions, wolves can hear as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the open tundra. A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal, which would be compared to a human eating one hundred hamburgers.

What Do Wolves Eat?

Hiking bag treks can produce wildlife you've never encountered before. Rest assured that wolves are considered Ungulates, which primarily feast on large-hoofed mammals including horses, cattle, pigs, and deer. Caution is always advised when you are in their "house."  Never camp in the wilderness near a carcass, since wolves will scavenge these dead animals and protect that food source.  In coastal areas it is common for wolves to feed on carcasses (ie. seal, sea lion etc.) that have washed ashore, therefore it is wise to thoroughly check out the area you plan on setting up camp first.

Keep a clean and orderly camp. Never clean fish at your campsite and remove carcasses immediately from your area. Do not bury bones or garbage. If you pack it in, pack it out Cook and store food away from sleeping areas. Securing food and kitchen items is important when the camp is unoccupied, even during the day. Wolves have been reported removing personal and other non-food items from campsites. Make sure you bury all human excrement at least 6" deep. (wolves have been known to feed on excrement buried in cat holes).

What If A Wolf Approaches Me?

If a wolf appears and acts unafraid or aggressive, immediately take action as soon as you notice the animal before it reaches 100 meters from you.

Hiking Bag trekkers should raise their arms and wave them in the air to make themselves appear larger. Make noise, throw sticks, rocks and sand at the wolf to scare him/them away. If you have fellow hikers with you, act in unison to send a nosy but clear message to the wolves they are not welcome.

If the wolf displays aggressive behavior, back away slowly without turning your back on the wolf. Just like with bears, don't run. You can use bear spray or pepper spray if you have it and the skills to use it safely. Be aware of the range and operating conditions of the product you are using.

A wolf can run about 20 miles (32 km) per hour, and up to 40 miles (56 km) per hour when necessary, but only for a minute or two. They can “dog trot” around 5 miles (8km) per hour and can travel all day at this speed.  A wolf pack may contain just two or three animals, or it may be 10 times as large.

Hiking Bag Excursions - Know The Animal

Now that you know the preventative side of dealing with wolves, your fear should be lessened by knowledge and understanding of the species. Be cautious, aware and alert. Here are some interesting facts about wolves that you will find captivating:

  • Wolves are naturally afraid of the unfamiliar and will hide from hikers and visitors, hence they make lousy guard dogs.

 

  • Wolves are the largest members of the Canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, coyotes, dingoes, African hunting dogs, many types of foxes, and several kinds of jackals.
  • Wolves run on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down.
  • Wolves were once the most widely distributed land predator the world has ever seen. The only places they didn’t thrive were in the true desert and rainforests.
  • A wolf pup’s eyes are blue at birth. Their eyes turn yellow by the time they are eight months old.
  • A wolf’s jaw has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pounds per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. Their jaws also open farther than those of a dog.
  • Wolves can swim distances of up to 8 miles aided by small webs between their toes.
  • Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in. Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls.
  • Wolves were the first animals to be placed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act list in 1973.
  • The last wolf in Yellowstone Park was killed in 1926. In 1995, wolves were reintroduced and, after just ten years, approximately 136 wolves now roam the Park in about 13 wolf packs.

 

Hiking Bag Trips - Conquer Your Fears

 Knowledge is power.  Familiarize yourself with animals in the wilderness where you hike. If you know what to expect, you are armed with pertinent information and ready to deal with it. Wolves are beautiful creatures, but keep your distance and use care not to invite them into your space on the trail or campground.  Happy Hiking!

 

 


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