So apparently I've been told that its pretty stupid to consider self defense against wolves because there are so few of the critters and how likely they are to attack you. And firsthand experiences out there? They certainly don't make wolf spray (I think).
Wolves are pretty common on a worldwide basis, but tend to be shy and thin on the ground.
That said, if they do decide that they need to eat you specifically, you have a problem. They are faster than you, tough, tireless (or near enough as makes no real difference), and have jaws and teeth which will rip you large new holes in a big hurry. They're also roughly human sized in terms of body mass, depending on sex, age, condition and so on. They also like to hunt in groups. Think of them as a gang of lean thugs on rollerblades with machetes and you're not far wrong.
If what you're packing can drop a fit man in a hurry, it's probably OK for wolves, partly because the loud bangs are likely to make them think twice. A kid in Norway, as I recall, who was faced with wolves remembered that he was given two main guidelines for facing down wolves: lots of noise and never try to run. He turned up the heavy metal on his headphones and used that as a noisemaker. Presumably a gun which goes bang will convey a similar message.
You probably wouldn't go far wrong with a good 9mm or 10mm pistol loaded with hollowpoints, but realistically I'd be more worried about meth freaks than about wolves.
And turn up the death metal. Wolves respect death metal.
If you're going where you think that would be a danger, I'll give you the Elmer Keith answer: .44 Special/.45 Long Colt or .45 ACP - preferably .44 Special. Those old wheelguns generate a lot of whomp! Plus, if you run out of ammo, the long-barreled wheelgun makes a great warhammer.
Come to think of it, it's another situation where a handy shotgun might be a better answer. I recall on the old iteration of this board a lot of discussions revolved around what weapon to carry to stop a bear, and I seem to recall that a KSG with lots of slugs in its pipes, or alternating slugs and buck, was high on the list.
A good pump shotgun with loads of buck sounds like a fine wolf re-educational tool to me.
My opinion of the 9mm is no. These are not people who are going to be frightened by being hit. They will have been hurt and their response may be to attack, and not to run. You had better break the critter down with the first shot, or face absolute and instant incapacitation.
.357 with 158 or larger, .40 smith, 10mm magnum, all of those will be adequate, but a .10 mm or good 45 ACP would be the smallest semiauto I would recommend. A revolver should be a big bore as suggested above, .44 special, .45 colt, or at least a .357.
A wolf is a dangerous animal. If a wolf is encountered in a dangerous situation, they are going to be hard to stop. don't make the mistake of using "shoot and release" tactics, don't screw around using minimum calibers. Use guns big enough to anchor it at the first shot.
The thing is if you do get attacked by a wolf, it'll probably involve more than one. In that case a 9mm is a bit anemic. You would still want something that packs a lot of rounds though, especially if you count on missing a few times in the confusion and adrendline-packed encounter of an animal attack. I would definitely recommend a Glock 20 10mm, 15 cap.
I didn't even go there, but yes, the idea of being attacked by ONE wolf is ridiculous. Why would there be a lone wolf? outcast from the group? lame? lost? In any case, even though it's pretty unlikely, a lone wolf will be just as dangerous and maybe far more dangerous than a pack of them. It will know that it has no allies, that it has no hope, it's hungry, and it knows that it's time to cowboy up and eat you.
Not saying that a pack of 3, or even a pack of ten will make you any safer, I don't think that a person is likely to survive a wolf attack, one or many, if that thing really wants you, unless you are absolutely deadly with your handgun.
My choice for a wolf would be the same thing I'd rather have for a mad dog. buckshot in a riot gun. Not 00, maybe two sizes smaller. give me that or an AR with a backup handgun in big bore.
I had to look into it because wolves are moving into a county where I have livestock.
Basically a lot of lone wolves are youngsters who have left their parents and are cruising around looking for their own territory. They can move a long distance at surprisingly high speed, as they look for mates and territories.
Your typical pack is simpler, according to recent research, than was thought some time ago. Typically it's mom, dad, and youngsters who have not yet left. Mom and dad are teaching the kids to hunt, and basically to be wolves. They hunt cooperatively because feeding teenagers is tough.
However, wolves are quite capable of backing off if they don't feel ready to take something on just yet, which is why musk oxen can find themselves besieged by wolves for days at a time. On the other hand if they get a bloody nose early on, they can just as easily move on to easier pickings unless they're starving. This is why showing resistance can help. If you can arrange three or four loud bangs rapidly followed by agonised yipping noises, you can probably make it out alive. They don't want to fight to the finish, they want to eat.
If they decide to charge you, you want something to baffle their mouths (in a pinch a loose jacket might do) because their mouths are how they hurt you. And you want enough ammunition to have good odds of hitting a couple.
Ammunition and skill in combination, I should add.
I guess you are right about most of that. The lone wolf must be more common, as you said, because packs don't stay together forever.
I'd not count on a wolf being meek, and willing to back off. They are always on the look for food, and as you said, unless you stand your ground they will see you as food. How many people have had their lunch eaten by "pet" wolves?
The interesting thing that I learned about house cats. A dog throws itself on it's belly in subservience,but a cat goes belly up to fight. Teeth are exposed when upright, claws are exposed when belly up. This does not always apply to wild cats. Point is, a cat is not likely to use the teeth for everything, but a wolf is very unlikely to use anything but his teeth, grabbing and shaking and tearing.
Watch cats fight sometime, get a number of hours in doing so, and you'll learn that cat combat is very different from canine fighting, and it's almost like the samurai. Wait for an opening, strike hard and fast, and try to finish it with a single blow. But a lot of them still go for the defensive posture, belly up, because that is where they have fouir clawed feet to go after the underbelly before the aggressor can even finalize his move.
That's one of the reasons you don't give a cat a belly rub unless you trust it. Everyone of them that I have has liked to play that game.. Put a hand on the belly at the wrong time, you wind up with all four feet clawing, and a mouth full of teeth.
cats are fun.
One of the big differences between dogs and cats is the nature of their teeth. Dogs have very sturdy biting and rending teeth. Cat teeth are more like a stiletto, which means that they are more vulnerable to breaking. It shows up in a difference in how they use them.
This doesn't mean cats can't be effective. If a cat runs, the dog usually chases and, if it catches up, breaks the cat's back. If the cat charges instead, the dog will probably get a face full of pain. I spoke to a vet I know who'd had to patch up some dogs which went after the wrong cat - usually mother cats with kittens, he told me - and he said that it looks like the dog tried to fight a blender. Noses ripped to hamburger, eyes clawed, just terrible damage. I've seen a cat attack a dog, and that cat went in with all attack points. We managed to pull the cat off before too much damage was done, but every claw went in like a dagger.
Speaking of animals which punch above their weight, I'm tempted to invest in some spur winged geese. I think I have a source, I just need to work it out. That should keep the local kids respectful.
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