Judge for yourself. Two men while elk hunting in Montana say they were “attacked” by a pack of wolves. The state of Montana and Ed Bangs, so-called wolf expert for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dismiss the claim as nothing more than ill-perceived fear.

“The idea of them charging people — I’ve never heard of that,” Bangs said on Tuesday. “But that doesn’t mean this guy doesn’t think he was charged. The whole threat may not be real, but I’m sure his fear was real.”

Here is part of how the hunters described the incident.

“They circled around us, and doggone if they didn’t cut us off. There was a dark one right in the trail about 40 feet in front of us,” Habel said. “John could have had a spine shot but decided not to take it because of the bear. I couldn’t shoot because John was in front of me and my barrel was too close. I couldn’t jeopardize the boy. Then things happened fast.”

“I could hear others, and then we heard this sound; they were sniffing us out, straining their lungs. It’s a crazy sound. And then that sound rippled up the hill. Then they started barking and all hell broke loose and they charged us,” Habel said.

Caroline Sime, the wolf coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said she doesn’t know of any packs living in that area.

Bangs believes the wolves were just “running by” and the hunters perceived it as a threat of an attack and got scared. He also offered this assessment.

“Most of the time if you say ‘Hey wolf,’ it would haul ass. They don’t like people,” Bangs said. “But the classic wolf incident is you see a wolf, it stops and watches you because they’re big social learners. What I tell people is that although the threat may have been nonexistent, the fear is real, and I’m glad he reported this and talked to the state people.”

State and federal officials did not investigate the scene of the incident but they sure seem to know exactly what happened.

Tom Remington