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Canadian Morel Hunter Saved from Wolf by Beer and Bears

A woman in north western Canada was stalked by a wolf for 12 hours, but was able to set an incredible trap for her pursuer.

Joanne Barnaby was the author of an incredible story, one so amazing she had people saying that maybe she made it up. Barnaby and her friend Tammy Caudron were searching for morel mushrooms in an area near Fort Smith when they got separated.

Luckily for Barnaby she had brought along her trusty dog Joey because she suddenly found herself face to face with a tall, lean, and very black wolf.

Barnaby said, "I heard this growl behind me. There was a long, tall, very, very skinny wolf. A black wolf. And his legs were spread and his hair was standing, and he was growling, and baring his teeth." When the woman's dog saw what was happening, it charged the wolf immediately, but got a big surprise: the wolf didn't back down one bit.

"I don't think Joey expected that," Barnaby said.


Even at that this marauding, very real, but sickly looking black wolf still seemed to know what it was doing. "It took me a while to realize that he knew what he was doing. He was trying to wear me down. He was trying to separate Joey and I," she said.

The next 12 hours were maddening for the woman. Dehydration and fatigue aside she was faced with maybe the most brutal predator of all: "I was going crazy with mosquitoes. There were zillions of mosquitoes."

At about 4:30 in the morning the next day things took a brighter turn, if you can call it that. In the distance she heard the obvious sounds of a bear cub wailing and its mother bear responding and it created an idea in the now lost and struggling woman; an idea that could possibly have finished her all the same as a wolf:

"I realized that there was a chance that the mother bear would tackle the wolf if she felt that the wolf was a threat, so I made the choice of walking towards the cub," she said.

After walking towards the sounds of the bear and her cubs for around 20-minutes the crazy plan seemed to have worked. Barnaby said with relief, "I heard this big crashing behind me and realized that the mama bear had attacked the wolf, or maybe the other way around, I don't know, but they were fighting and I could hear the wolf yelping and I could hear the mama bear growling and I could hear all this crashing and I just took off!"

Once the woman and her dog had traveled some distance they came upon a lake and felt saved, partly by one of the only things that she had brought along with her- a can of beer. "I had brought one can of beer with me. Silly choice," she explained. "That little can of beer ended up saving my life."

Mosquitoes, wolves, and bears aside she had renewed energy to scramble her way to the road at this point where the scene of rescue vehicles a mile or so away were a welcome sight.

Maybe the biggest lesson of all after nearly succumbing to a ravenous wolf, a possible encounter with a mother bear protecting her cubs was one thought for the now rescued woman who called it was a "huge mistake":

"Don't do what I did. Don't go without your gun," she said "Anything can happen. If I had had that gun, it would've been a very short situation."

Thankfully Barnaby and her brave little dog survived the situation and can tell their story. A lesson learned for outdoorsmen and women everywhere who feel a simple trip into areas they are familiar with are safe to travel with the minimum of gear.

Photos via CBC News


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Canadian Morel Hunter Saved from Wolf by Beer and Bears