A group of hunters say they were forced to fight off two wolves after their dog was attacked at their wilderness camp in the N.W.T.'s Mackenzie Mountains last weekend.
Only a few hours after the group had set up camp for their week-long adventure, they heard noises outside their tent. When Andrew Stanley went outside to see what was happening, he saw two husky-sized wolves attacking his dog, Charlie.
One wolf had the dog by the neck, and the other was biting the dog's legs, back, and belly. When Stanley approached with his rifle, the wolves let go of his dog and fled, but not before Stanley was able to shoot one of the wolves dead.
Stanley said the wolves "were this year's pups, they couldn't have been more than 12 months old. Pretty skinny and looked like they had been having a rough go at finding food."
"The attack was very quick and very aggressive," he said. "It was a hard thing to witness."
Stanley is a fifth generation trapper and has been hunting all his life, but he says he's never had an experience like this with a wolf.
"I always laughed at people if they were in the bush and were worried about wolves coming into camp," he said. "I always thought they avoided humans and camps. I was wrong."
'Exciting, enthralling, terrifying'
Jay Bulckaert says it was "one of the most exciting, enthralling, terrifying hunting trips I've ever been on."
The attack, he said, began with Charlie screaming in a way he'd never heard before.
"Everybody dropped their coffee instantly and went and ran for guns."
He says the wolves came from nowhere, silently.
"I thought it was a grizzly bear. The number one thing that's on everybody's mind when you're in country like that is grizzly bear."
The experience, he said, has changed him.
"It's not that I'm scared of wolves now but I think that what I realized right away is that, this is not our home."
'These are wild animals'
The group heard wolves howling for most of the night after the attack, leaving little opportunity for the hunters to have a good sleep.
"I'm pretty sure we all never slept much," said Stanley. "I know I never did."
Stanley said he was worried he'd have to bury Charlie at the camp, but the dog was not seriously injured, besides a gash on his belly and some small bite holes.
"Now he's good, back to normal, and bringing sticks," said Stanley, adding the episode is a good reminder to take care when you are in the bush.
"That could have been a little kid. It could have been one of us. So you gotta remember, these are wild animals. They are dangerous."
The hunters spent another week at their camp. They never saw any wolves again.
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