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Terrifying Wolf Encounter has B.C. Lighthouse Keeper Sharing Advice: 'Don't Run'

posted Mar 17, 2018, 7:21 PM by chloe owens

12/5/2017, Vancouver Island CTV News

Terrifying wolf encounter has B.C. lighthouse keeper sharing advice: ‘Don’t run’

…Harvey Humchitt Jr. has operated the lighthouse on Cape Scott, a provincial park renowned for old-growth trees and rugged terrain, for the last 17 years. While the area doesn't get much in terms of human traffic, with only about 3,000 to 5,000 hikers per year according to Humchitt, wolves are routinely spotted by him and his colleagues. "Mostly just wandering by. It seems like we're in the middle of their highway or something when they're transiting the islands looking for food and stuff," he said. "We hear them more than we see them. On average we probably hear the wolves once or twice a week…the whole pack is howling and you can hear it everywhere." But just this week, Humchitt experienced what he describes as his scariest wildlife encounter while he was returning home from a radio room at the lighthouse station. "I heard a little rustling coming from the brush so I turned my flashlight to see if I could see what was making the noise," he said. The light flashed on, and Humchitt realized he was face-to-face with a wolf caught completely unaware…Humchitt said he was shocked because in all of his years working around wildlife, he's never seen a wolf give chase before. But after he did some more research he quickly learned why the frightening encounter unfolded the way it did. "Wolves hunt their prey on the run," he said. "When I started running, I basically told the wolf that I was prey. 'Hey, come get me.'" Wildlife educator Gary Allan agrees and recommends anyone faced with a wolf to stand their ground. "Don't run to get out of it. Walk backwards or walk still watching the animal and also watching where you're going because you don't want to trip," he said. "If you trip and fall and it's there, again, that could trigger it taking a lunge at you."