On Dec. 7, Smithers conservation officers received a report from the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club that a wolf attacked and killed a skier’s dog.
The skier was then followed out on the trail by one of the wolves, but was not injured.
Conservation officer Cam Schley said this is the first such incident with wolves that he could recall in his 18 years of service. He said while wolves are not uncommon on Hudson Bay Mountain, an attack like this is “extreme” and very rare.
Schley said carcasses of a moose cow and calf were found a couple hundred metres from the dog attack. He believes that is why the wolves are in the area.
“Obviously the wolves are hungry and desperate for food, and probably were sitting on the moose carcasses or were nearby, and saw the skier and the dog go by and thought of the dog as prey, so attacked the dog and killed it,” explained Schley.
Schley said the skier did all the right things by not running while putting distance between himself and the wolf following him.
“He kept lots of distance between himself and the wolf, and didn’t run because just like if you were to start running away from a dog, sometimes that causes the dog to chase you. The same thing could happen with a wolf, you never want to try to run away from a wolf, but you want to put that distance between you,” said Schley.
Schley stressed he did not want people to feel alarmed over such a rare occurrence, but that people who feel they need some extra protection can bring bear bangers and bear spray with them after the trails are re-opened.
“It’s very, very rare for a wolf to even do this kind of behaviour towards people. Most times you see a wolf and boom they’re gone, you don’t see them again,” added Schley.
Conservation officers were on Hudson Bay Mountain investigating the incident at first light the next day, surveying the situation until dark.
The Pine Creek and dog trails on the south side of Hudson Bay Mountain Road were closed while the conservation officers investigated. Conservation asked people to not ski any of the Pine Creek or Pooch Paradise trails until further notice. As of print deadline, there was no change to that warning.