January 02, 2014
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad What?
By David E. Petzal
One of the more curious things I’ve seen in the movies of late is the villainizing of our friend Canis lupus, the gray wolf. In a film titled “The Gray,” Liam Neeson plays a hunter who is hired by an oil company to shoot wolves so that they don’t eat the workers, which apparently is a problem. Neeson takes a plane out of the camp, the plane crashes, and he and his fellow survivors are tracked down and et over a period of days by a pack that has nothing better to do.
The second movie is “The Bourne Legacy,” in which Jeremy Renner traps the leader of a pack that has been stalking him for days in a snare, wrestles the wolf to the ground, shoves a stick in his mouth and follows it with a tracking device that causes a missile to blow up the wolf instead of Renner.
Now this is all good fun, but there are a couple of problems. As far as I know, there are only two documented cases of wild, non-rabid wolves killing a person in North America (there are, however, copious records of wolf attacks in Asia, Europe, and India going back over centuries). It’s possible that in the fastness of the Far North, innumerable solitary hunters, trappers, and travelers have ended up as piles of wolf poop, but we don’t know about it.
Wild wolves that are not rabid do not attack adults as a rule (they prefer children, who don’t fight as hard and probably taste better), and when they do, they prefer women, ditto ditto. Wolves that have become used to humans seem to attack more than others.
All the wolves I’ve seen in Canada and Alaska have run like hell when they became aware of my presence because they’ve learned the hard way that people equal bullets, and what wolf needs that? (If Dickgun is reading this post, pitch in; you’ve seen a lot more wolves than I have.)
And as for Jeremy Renner manhandling an enraged 150-pound apex predator that crunches moose bones for appetizers, why, God bless. Better him than me.
I think that if I were a gray wolf, I would be talking to a good libel lawyer about now.