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Man claims shooting of wolf was in self-defense

Originally published here as:
"Idahoan shoots, kills protected gray wolf
Man says he fired four rounds in self-defense"
Thursday, August 16, 2001, Idaho Statesman

SALMON, IDAHO -- A central Idaho man says he killed a protected gray wolf last month after it threatened him and his wife.

Tim Sundles of Carmen stunned the crowd at a Tuesday wolf hearing attended by U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, when he admitted shooting the wolf in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness three weeks ago.

Sundles said several wolves showed up in his camp and harassed his horses. He drove them away, but they returned two hours later. One was particularly aggressive.

"I shot at him to scare him. That wolf -- there was no hesitation whatsoever -- turned on me and my wife," Sundles said. "He came in and I fired four rounds. He came within 10 feet of me, he circled around me and came around the back side of my wife, where I killed him.

"I've never made it a secret that I'm anti-wolf," Sundles added. "But this has nothing to do with those beliefs."

Paul Weyland, special agent at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Boise, said the matter is under investigation.

Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, but Idaho's wolves were reintroduced under an "experimental, non- essential" status.

"You can kill an endangered species to protect human life," Weyland said.

Under federal rules, anyone who kills a wolf in self-defense must report it within 24 hours. This is the first report of a wolf killed in self- defense since their return in 1995, Weyland said.

Wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare, said Suzanne Laverty, Northwest field representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

"As far as I know, there has not been a case of a wild, healthy wolf attacking any (human) in North America," she said.

Laverty said she has a "healthy skepticism" of Sundles' claim.

"This would be a highly uncommon thing, if it happened," she said.

In 1996, a sheepherder reported a wolf lunged at him before four Great Pyrenees guard dogs drove it away. This happened near Warm Lake.

COMMENTARY
from Jim Taylor, as found on the forums where this original article was located

In the article about the wolf kill, Suzanne Laverty, Northwest field representative for Defenders of Wildlife says "...."As far as I know, there has not been a case of a wild, healthy wolf attacking any (human) in North America..."

I suggest she take a closer look at what has happened in North America:

WOLF ATTACKS 6-YEAR-OLD NEAR YAKUTAT
Article Date: Thursday, April 27, 2000
Page: A1
Section: Nation By Karen Aho, Daily News Reporter

also

SLEEPING CAMPER ATTACKED BY WOLF
Article Date: Wednesday, July 05, 2000
Page: B3
Section: Metro The Associated Press Victoria, British Columbia

and

WOLVES LOSING FEAR
Article Date: Sunday, April 30, 2000
Page: A1
Section: Nation By Craig Medred And Elizabeth Manning, Daily News Reporters

This last article closes with the statement: "....There is no way to tell when a habituated wolf loses its fear of humans. Fortunately, state wildlife biologists said, that isn't much of a threat in most of Alaska. In the Bush, they noted, a "fearless wolf" almost always becomes a wolf hide. That could explain, they add, why attacks like that on John Stenglein have been virtually unheard of in Alaska in the past 50 years..."

In the lower US fear of prosecution simply causes the person who was attacked to not report the incident, which could explain why attacks such as that upon the Sundles family have been virtually unheard of....


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