When I began researching my next book, I kept running into anecdotes about wolves and wolf attacks. The stories ranged in location from New York to Maine. Now interested, I began reading up on wolves. Most of the sources claimed that there were NO documented attacks by wolves on humans in North America. One source said that any genuine attacks in North America were carried out by wolf/dog hybrids. (Not sure how they could be so certain of this.)
People have been frightened of wolves for thousands of years. Ironic, I think, considering that they are related to dogs. (In my opinion, one’s life is not complete without a dog. But I digress.)
A quick look at fairy tales indicates fear of wolves. And there ARE documented accounts of wolves carrying off children or attacking lone people in Europe so the fear in valid. Even now, the sound of a wolf howl sends a chill down my spine.
But memoirs from my period describe attacks in specific detail, especially during hard winters. Lone cabins situated in the woods lit bonfires to keep the wolves away. And one account described the attack of a man – a hale and hearty man in the prime of life – by a pack of wolves. They were finally driven off by his wife wielding an axe.
Wolves hunt in packs that can number as many as twelve. They are apex predators and can certainly take down cattle and other livestock. In fact, the hatred of wolves for doing just this is so great that they were almost eradicated in the west. This, of course, had an unexpected consequence: the explosion of populations of deer and other game.