An article on the Yakima Farm Bureau’s opposition to Washington’s wolf management plan also contains another account of a hunter-wolf interaction, this one in the Teanaway Valley of Kittitas County.
Reporter Scott Sandsberry of the Yakima Herald-Republic details how Don Wood and his son were approached in late November during an antlerless elk hunt first by one wolf, then four:
… a wolf approached within 20 yards and watched them for quite a while.
“It came up to a bush that the leaves had fallen off of, so it was just kind of sticks and we could see it,” Wood said. “It was staring directly at us for probably a good three or four minutes.”
Wood said he was fascinated but, with his rifle in his arm, was not afraid, “just cautious. My son was standing right beside me; I told him, ‘Look, it’s a wolf.’ He was like, ‘Whoa.’ We didn’t really say much because wanted to be quiet.”
Eventually the wolf trotted off, and Wood’s son, Kenny, walked over to look at its tracks. After a couple of minutes, though, four other wolves — one of which wearing what appeared to be one of the state’s radio-collar units — approached from the same direction.
“I was telling (Kenny) to stop, and I went over to him because he didn’t realize what was going on. At that point, I was a little more concerned,” Wood said.
Still, though, he was more curious than nervous, and instead of raising his rifle, he raised his smart phone to take some photographs of the wolves until they ambled off.
“I had the phone in one hand and the rifle in the other,” Wood said. “(The wolves) stayed spread apart. I think they were coming down looking for breakfast and trying to determine if we were breakfast or not. At the time, I was alert and just trying to assess the whole situation, wasn’t really concerned. A couple of days later, at home in my bed, I was got to thinking, ‘Hey, that really could have gone the other way.’”
A wolf encounter that does go the other way is the subject of a new Hollywood film, The Grey, but the Woods’ experience follows a more peaceful though unnerving one a huntress had on Sawtooth Ridge back in September and detailed by the Methow Valley News.
For more recent wolf reports in Washington, home to a minimum of 27 wolves at the end of last year, go here.