A Minnesota grouse hunter experienced a harrowing incident as a wolf chased his dog while more wolves appeared out of the woods.
Justin Bailey told the Pioneer Press about an encounter with a pack of wolves he recently had while grouse hunting in northern Minnesota. It sounds like something from a movie as several of the wolves materialized out of the woods around Bailey and his young hunting companions.
Bailey was hunting near Isabella when his nephew spotted a grouse near the road they were on. He pulled his truck over and released his German wirehaired pointer, Henry, to go after the bird.
“I sent him into the woods to find the bird,” Bailey said in an interview with the newspaper. “He did one pass in there and got on point. I was on the road. He had the bird pinned down. Then he made this awful screech. It was like a cross between a yip and a cry. He must have been about thirty yards away.”
Henry was running like mad back to Bailey, his son and nephew, with a wolf hot on his tail.
“He was coming at me 100 miles per hour, and right behind him was a wolf, biting at his heels,” said Bailey. “They probably passed five or six feet from us.”
“The dog jumped in the window of the truck, and the wolf did a quick lap around the truck.”
Suddenly Bailey saw two more wolves emerge from the woods, and then three more materialized about 100 yards down the road.
“I think we saw six total,” he said. “I was yelling at the one that went around the truck. He wasn’t very timid, that’s for sure. He was fifteen feet from the truck and turned around and watched me put the kids in the truck.”
Bailey fired a round from his shotgun in the hope of scaring the wolves off. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said.
Bailey indicated that the incident happened so quickly that it didn’t even occur to him to shoot at the wolves, and the predators made no attempt to threaten the hunters.
“I played it back in my head,” he said. “Yes, I would have shot at the wolves because the kids were there, but it happened so fast it didn’t even cross my mind.”
But the incident has caused Bailey to reconsider grouse hunting with his dog.
“It makes me not want to bring my dog in the woods anymore. It makes you think twice.”
But even though the trio continued grouse hunting the rest of the day, they did it without Henry.
“The dog refused to leave the truck,” Bailey said. “I couldn’t get him out of the truck the rest of the day.”
Not so for Bailey’s young son and nephew. “They thought it was the coolest experience in the north woods,” he said. “They were seeing all kinds of wolves all day long.”
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