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Man Shoots Wolf in Self Defense

Originally ran here as:
"Idahoan shoots, kills protected gray wolf"
by Staff and wire reports
The Idaho Statesman
August 16, 2001

Man says he fired four rounds in self-defense

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.

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