Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for July 12, 2013

Wolf attack stuns cyclist, riding mates

When Mac Hollan realized it was a wolf and not a big dog chasing him on his bike along the Alaska Highway, things started to go through his mind.

By Chuck Tobin on July 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

When Mac Hollan realized it was a wolf and not a big dog chasing him on his bike along the Alaska Highway, things started to go through his mind.

His riding mates were out of sight well behind him. He wasn’t sure how everything would end – or whether it was going to end right there, west of Watson Lake, a little over a week ago.

The rush of adrenaline propelled him like he’s never pedalled before, Hollan writes on the blog he’s using to keep followers updated about his 4,500-kilometre ride from Idaho to Prudhoe Bay to raise money for kids back home.

The grey wolf easily stayed with him, nipping at his heels, and ripping at his tent bag.

Attempts to convey his distress to a passing 18-wheeler, and then to four other vehicles, resulted in nothing. Nobody stopped.

The wolf pulled up momentarily when Hollan hit it with the bear spray he was carrying up front. But the wolf was quickly back on pace, in the chase again.

Hollan doused it a second time. The result was the same: a brief pause in stride, and then back on the attack.

And again, the same. And again.

When he rounded a corner and looked ahead to the hill coming up, his uncertainty grew.

“As I came around the corner, to my horror I saw a quick incline, and knew that I would not be able to stay in front of this wolf for much longer,” Hollan writes.

“I just kept thinking about all the shows I have seen where wolves simply run their prey until they tire and then finish them. It was a surreal moment to realize that I was that prey, and this hill was that moment. The only plan I could think of was to get off my bike, get behind it, and hope that I had enough bear spray to deter him once and for all when he got close enough.

“It was also at this point that I realized I might not be going home, and I began to panic at the thought of how much it was going to hurt.”

But from the rear, an RV approached. Hollan was now pedalling down the middle of the highway to draw attention to the wolf on his heels.

The driver pulled over, and Hollan scrambled to get inside.

The wolf, meanwhile, continued to attack the discarded bike, ripping at the bags, the tires.

Several more vehicles passed by, but the undeterred wolf remained focused on the bike.

It wasn’t until one motorist stopped and pegged the wolf with a rock in the head did the animal depart.

Not long afterwards, his fellow cyclists show up, carrying tent poles which had tumbled from the bag torn open by the wolf.

In their preparation to support the Sandpoint Backpack Program, Hollan and his riding mates had covered just about every scenario, including the likelihood of coming across bears along the highway.

But being chased by a wolf?

Hollan was unavailable by phone late this week as he’s continuing the journey to Prudhoe Bay, and was past Destruction Bay today.

In a brief email conversation, he indicates no problem sharing the story from details in his blog, but would like to remind readers of the Point to Bay fund-raiser, and his website http://www.pointtobay.com

Yukon government veterinarian Mary Vanderkop said Thursday it sounds as though the wolf may have recently left the pack and was on its own.

While its behaviour was unusual, unusual behaviour by wild animals is not unheard of, she said.

She doubts the animal was rabid, because there is no way a rabid and sick wolf could have sustained such a chase.

Besides, said Vanderkop, Environment Yukon has expanded its surveillance to watch for rabies in the Yukon in recent years and has seen nothing in the wolf population.

It’s more likely the lone wolf, now on its own, was reacting to its instinctive nature to chase down fast-moving prey to see if it could eat it, she said.

A couple of years ago in one of the rural communities, Vanderkop recalled, a wolf was following an individual.

When the person went into a building, the wolf went right up to the door and kept gnawing on the door knob.

It was eventually shot by a conservation officer because it was hanging around in the community, she said.

Vanderkop said an assessment of the carcass showed the wolf was not sick or rabid, though in that case it was in poor condition.

“A lot of times, animals do things for reasons we do not understand, but it might make sense to the animal at the time,” said the vet.

CommentsAdd a comment

Jackie Ward

Jul 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I knew something was stinking, especially after this line, “In a brief email conversation, he indicates no problem sharing the story from details in his blog, but would like to remind readers of the Point to Bay fund-raiser, and his website http://www.pointtobay.com”. What a great way to get a plug. Now, I know I can’t prove this story, I’ll admit that. But something about this story just seemed too far fetched to be remotely true. Wolves usually attack children. 85% of the time no adults are around when that occurs. But having that plug for donations really throws the red flag for me. I’m sorry, I just don’t believe this story whatsoever. And I can be an adult and admit when I’m wrong. But unless I see the pictures of your torn up bike, or any other evidence, then my opinion will stand.

bob geary

Jul 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Evidence is required of course.  What happened to that RV?
Who?  What?  Where?
Perhaps he’ll explain it as a joke when he’s back in the USA…but isn’t that FRAUD??

Josey Wales

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hey Jackie I’m with you on this one.
The dude in BC whom WAS chased by a wolf recently had photo evidence in the form of moving pictures (10 years ago called video)
of said event. This one? Alarms are going off with me too as with you.
Why just the other night I was in the bush walking my dogs, when a tall hairy bipod tried to put the stalk on me. We got into a scuffle and between me and my dogs barely managed to get free from the beast…but we did.
At first I thought it was just a disheveled drunk staggering through the trails…we are over represented with that profile up here.
Upon reflection, we must have wrestled with a big foot creature…clearly.
As bad luck would have it…the creature managed to get my camera before limping away…so folks ya “just have to trust me” on this tale..oops I mean event of factual reality.
I’m taking donations to replace my camera and raise some funds for big foot studies if anyone wishes to donate.
OK…full disclosure, the above events I illustrated with the bi-pod shag…never happened. I’m just so damn broke and really need a new camera…so a trolling for gullible lemmings with too much money I went.
Sure I could use some free cash and a new camera, but I was making a very sarcastic point…and wish NOT to generate funds/gifts via fraudulent means (I’m not a Liberal).
Today being Sunday is another AWESOME Yukon day…felt like making a funny…and hope a few get a chuckle outta my tale of fictitious events that never really occurred.

....for FULL and complete disclosure.

Brian Fobe

Jul 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Well its to bad some people call others names under there breath when they don’t know them, I do not know this man personally, but a friend of mine seen the wolf on the side of the road in the same area of road by itself, stopped and viewed the wolf. It did not leave or run away. Rolled down his window and it just stared at him, then drove away. As for the incident, he never saw it happen but who are you to call someone a liar when you were not there and have no clue as per the facts!


Jul 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Jackie, Bob and Josie…

Looks like your theory is a bust (see Yukon News)....poor guy was chased by a wolf while you all were sitting in your dark basements sharing conspiracy theories….do you Facebook too?
Fact is we live in a wild place where it is a numbers game when and where someone gets chased around by a wild animal….I’m worried the poor guy will be blamed for the wolf chasing him because he doesn’t understand the effect we inconsiderate humans have on wildlife…..
Folks who don’t want to control wolves and say we put animals in this position (human attacks) with our existence are just floating around oblivious to the reality that animals need to eat and sometimes we look easy or tasty.

Please leave the house every once in a while though, it is a great Territory out there.

bobby bitman

Jul 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm

There ARE photos, taken by the people in the motorhome.  They are Yukoners and corroberated the story.  I saw the pictures and read the stories on the fb sites of the people in the motorhome.

I am amazed by how many people are rude enough to call others liars and con artists based simply on their own lack of experience with wildlife.

Lots of people have been followed/chased by wolves.  Most of the stories never make the news.

Josey Wales

Jul 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Hey Brian…I called nobody any names, just that alarm bells were/are going off “questioning” the realism of this “alleged” event. Reading your post as I have, man-O-man I’m I impressed…I never knew wolves could drive…must have had power windows (kinda hard to grab a window crank without the aid of a thumb).
but as stated…just because I didn’t see it happen means not that it never did.

Hey Atom…it’s Josey nnnnnKay.
I have no basement, spend scads of time in wild(ish) places. Gee if it was in “The News” then for sure it musta went that way as they are an outstanding and unbiased paper full of absolute professionals (sarc) whom dig deep into facts (more sarc.)

Atom I do agree with you at least 400% on the “actual” fact…it is a great Territory out there!

Perhaps some have reading comprehension issues…as I was trying to make a funny?
Clearly I failed in my attempts at doing so.

Greasy McGee

Jul 17, 2013 at 11:30 am

Proof that even Wolves Don’t Like Cyclists!


Jul 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Only one retraction(denial…Josie I says)of ‘alleged’ criticism. I’m surprised the doubtors haven’t demanded more proof yet….not that any newspaper can be taken at it’s word…poor wolf….but it does relate a bit to the old phrase ‘never cry wolf.’

Yukon Justice

Jul 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

I think we should talk to the big bad wolf.

cpt. obvious

Jul 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

Where’s Clayton???

Seriously, though.  Not healthy wolf behaviour.

Brian Fobe

Jul 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

To: Josey
Now you bad mouth me, you did make fun and belittle this man, now you try to belittle me which is not called for. You hide behind a false name and make fun of people. Maybe you should read my post again because I may not be a scolar but I think my post is understandable for almost everyone, I will not remark on this again because it is truly not worth my effort and yes you are rude and not funny!

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