POLSON – Authorities from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes now say they’re skeptical that two animals seen chasing deer through a Polson yard between Christmas and New Year’s were wolves, even as another possible wolf sighting in town surfaced.

Dale Becker, tribal wildlife program manager, says his office has received multiple reports of “a couple of big dogs” on the loose, one a Malamute, one a husky, one black and one gray.

“We’ve been in touch with three different parties who have seen the animals, and are positive they’re dogs,” Becker said. “They’ve seen them running wild and chasing deer, and they fit the description.”

He and Stacy Courville, CSKT’s wolf management specialist, agree that if a wolf, or wolves, had been in town since late last month they would have received reports of dogs having been attacked or killed by now – wolves view dogs as “trespassing wolves” that must be driven away or killed – but there have been none.

Becker said it would be easy to mistake the animals, “Especially with the hybrids they have now where they’ve developed big dogs with wolf features.”

The animals were reported on Dec. 28 by a woman in the Hillcrest area on the east side of Polson.

***

Mary Friscia says she heard about the possible wolf sighting on Hillcrest – she and her husband live down the hill from Hillcrest, two blocks from school property and five blocks from the school itself, Linderman – on the way to work, and dismissed it.

“I thought maybe she’d seen an Irish wolfhound or something, and blew it off,” Friscia says.

But early Monday morning, when she went to put her bulldog, Butchie, outside, Friscia says there was a gray wolf in her backyard.

“I know it was,” Friscia says. “There’s not a doubt in my mind.”

It was about 6:20 a.m. Friscia was in a robe and slippers, and pulled Butchie – who was very interested in investigating – back inside.

She put on shoes and grabbed a .22 – “Just so there’d be no issues,” she says – and returned, but the animal was gone. Tracks showed it circling through the yard, then heading down an alley and traveling north up the street.

Friscia believes it might have been attracted by a colony of rabbits that have adopted the neighborhood as a home. There have been as many as 30 rabbits that hang out in the neighborhood, but that number is down to four this winter.

A neighbor who lives at the other end of the block has since told her he has seen what he believes to be a wolf as well. Friscia posted a message about what she had seen on Facebook.

“When I actually went back out (with shoes on) I saw some of the biggest K9 prints I have ever seen,” Friscia wrote. “Wow I wish I could have gotten a pic or something to prove what I saw! What a way to start a Monday!!!”

Friscia went on to warn her neighbors to keep an eye on their pets. She reported the sighting to the Polson Police Department, and was asked to call 9-1-1 immediately if she sees the animal again.

Becker and Courville measured what was left of the tracks Tuesday afternoon, and said that “even with changes due to the snowmelt, we believe the animal that left the tracks was not a wolf.”

***

After a tribal biologist measured and photographed the tracks in the Hillcrest yard, Polson police and CSKT released a statement saying the spacing, size and gait were consistent with wolf tracks, but stopped short of confirming it as a wolf sighting.

“The tracks were within the size range of wolf tracks,” the statement said, “but definitive verification of the source was not possible.”

Since then, Becker said, they’ve received a report from someone who was sledding near the Polson Bay Golf Course prior to the sighting who said they were approached by a woman asking if they had seen her dogs, a malamute and a husky, one black and one gray, that had gotten loose.

The woman had come down from a walking path in the Hillcrest vicinity located across U.S. Highway 93 from the golf course, Becker said.

“Everything we’ve had fits that description,” Becker said of the missing dogs.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or at vdevlin@missoulian.com.

More from missoulian.com

(32) comments

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 - Once again attention to details.

I never told you to call CSKT to ask them questions, I told you to call them so you could provide all your valuable information to this reported wolf sighting. I know you won’t call them because the only information you have is based off of another person’s or community’s wolf sighting and you have no direct knowledge or experience in the Polson Wolf Sighting. I think that encompasses the definition of hearsay.

Thank you for letting me know you take good care of your dog. More people should be like you. Especially since you live less than 100 yards away from a school bus stop!

AAO22
AAO22

@ jail - I think you're grasping at straws to try and keep an argument going.
Maybe YOU should to pay attention to details. Re-read my initial comment. I can only go off of what it posted in the paper. First it was wolves - tracks and gate consistent with wolves, eyewitness accounts, but no definitive proof...now its hearsay that it was someone's dogs chasing deer. Sooo...it may or may not have been wolves. End of story...for now. My point is and has been that whenever there is an issue with wolves there is always someone placing the blame on something else.
Are you done yet? I am.

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 - A single eyewitness acount. (Which will trigger more people who can't tell the difference between a wolf and a dog, to mistakenly report other dogs as wolves). Tracks and gate the size that could have been wolves or dogs (the reason they couldn't say for sure it was wolves). You may have seen issues with wolves in other communities that place blame on something else, but not the case here. Lots of information has been collected and after looking at it all, they are now skeptical. You have from the start contributed nothing but hearsay. Thanks for all your help.

What year was it when you moved to the Flathead Valley from California? This entire story makes me laugh. I am done now.

reality22f
reality22f

Certainly, a woman owning two dogs one black and one grey with feet the size of a wolf should not be hard to find in the town of the size of Polson where everyone know almost everyone! Deflecting and covering is the name of the game with anti-hunting wolf advocates..... They went into high gear when the Candice Berner was killed by wolves months ago with stories of murder and cover-up and suicide and dogs and bla bla bla.....yet it(the Berner mauling/death) was a slam dunk case with FRESH tracks in the snow! I'm not even saying this was wolves..... What people should be asking themselves is with all this publicity and time that has passed why haven't the reporters found the person with these dogs and reported as such?

Edited by staff.

AAO22
AAO22

@ jail - When I wrote "...and a property owner can legally shoot a dog at large that is chasing and/or harming livestock or pets." <---- That was in my own words, not quoted from the link I posted. Sorry for any misunderstanding there. For example, if there is a "dog at large" out in my pasture chasing and/or harming my horse I can legally shoot it. Period. Just as I can legally shoot a wolf or mountain lion or bear that is attacking my livestock, pets or is posing a threat to myself or my family. Its heart warming that people like you make assumptions rather than asking for clarification though.

Here's the suggested statement you wanted...Please re-read my initial comment. I stand by my statement which is "biased media and government officials want the public to think its anything but wolves". There is a line drawn between wolf activists and those who want proper management of wolves. When an incident such as this occurs its no surprise that someone will claim it was a dog instead of a wolf even with eyewitness accounts. Its all about sowing the seed of doubt, however minute it may be. Point is, sadly someone will be attacked before some people wake up. Sure, I too would like to see photos of the the alleged canines as a form of proof. But alas, not everyone has a camera phone firmly attached to their hand 24/7. I do not want everyone to be "supper" (I think you meant super) afraid of the big bad wolf but I would like to see the general public pull their heads out of the sand and see the light. Contrary to your belief I am well educated about wolves, their behavior and respect them as a predator. I do not respect wolf hugging, emotional and overly sensationalizing activists whom are largely from out-of-state telling me how I should or should not react when it comes to wolves infringing on mine and my family's personal safety, my livestock and pets safety and our very hunting heritages etc... I am also not a sheeple who believes everything I read in the paper, especially such a biased one as the Missoulian...which was exactly why I initially wrote a rather sarcastic comment.

I hunt, fish and recreate and live rurally. I respect all wildlife, especially predators - but I'm also pro-predator management. I do agree with you about needing to continually remind the wolf to be afraid of people by hunting them. I do not agree that transplanting wolves into ecosystems that hadn't seen such an apex predator in almost 100 years is "good for the environment". I would have rather seen the promotion of natural dispersal of wolves from Alberta and BC, ON THEIR OWN, into our regions which would have been a better approach for ungulate species to adapt to yet another predator - especially an apex, pack hunting predator. Instead USFWS transplanted over a hundred wolves into different areas, promoted their expansion and population growth for nearly 20 years and now we are dealing with the consequences. Make all the assumptions you want of me though.

AAO22
AAO22

@ jail - PS- If/when I see a wolf running through my yard you can bet I will NOT, as you advise, "call 911, then take some photo's". I will however shoot it and tag it. Then I will call my husband (yes, I am a woman!) and then we would take a photo :) Maybe then I would email the photo to the local media about the wolf I legally killed in my yard...which is less than 100 yards away from a school bus stop. But this is all IF and WHEN talk...

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 - Glad to see you finally coming around. I will legally shoot a wolf if I see one as well. I knew you were a woman by your comments and congrats for being one. Did you call CSKT with all your important information regarding the Polson wolves yet?

Edited by staff.

AAO22
AAO22

@ jail - We can keep going round and round but lets just call it what it is. Its a wolf, its a dog, its superman! ...Its all skepticism now. Next time someone reports seeing a wolf run through their yard perhaps the media should wait til all the facts are in before causing unnecessary hype? Perhaps next time there will be no doubt whether or not it was a wolf or house dog? Hopefully the next time is not a wolf attack on a pet (again, like recently in Florence) or person. I can't speak for others, but personally I can tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote or a wolf and husky. We have a large breed dog and we specifically keep a bright collar on him "just in case" someone may mistake him for a wolf. Although if someone knows their a** from a hole in the ground they could plainly see he is not a wolf simply by looking at his ears and other characteristics. Our dog is also is not allowed to run at large, chase deer and is not allowed out of our control, period. I gave you what you wanted. Clarification on my statement regarding it being legal to shoot a dog at large that is chasing/harming livestock. Upon your request I gave you reason as for what my original statement was directed at. I am not quite sure why it is you want me to call CSKT and ask them questions regarding hearsay now. Frankly I feel we are done. Maybe we will have another lively conversation about the next article put out regarding wolves. Until then I think we've exhausted this conversation. Thanks. Its been fun :)

Edited by staff.

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 It's heartwarming that people like you make conclusions off of someone else's inexperienced sighting of wolves without taking in all facts. If an experienced trapper made the call of a wolf it would hold alot more weight. You seem to be good with the internet, search for the CSKT Fish and Game and give them a call. Ask for Dale Becker and tell him that the lady who has never seen a wolf before, actually did see a wolf and tell him the reasons why you believe it to be so. He is a great guy and will listen to all you have to say and will even take the time to talk to you about it.

Based off of what I just said to you, I will also say that I truely don't know if they were wolves or not. Oh wait, reading the article above I see they have been in touch with three other parties who have seen the two animals chasing deer and are positive they're dogs. I did take in as much information as I could and I'm willing to bet they were dogs. This is based off of a conversation I had with Becker, the coincidence that I personally experienced of the lady looking for her two dogs on the same day as the initial wolf sighting, and my personal experience of looking around the mule deer buck carcass and not seeing any wolf sign on the morning of the 31st

I'm sorry if you take it personally that the tribe, after warning the public of possible wolves in town, are now taking in all information and dismissing the report as dogs.

Now tell me again, what exactly are you going to report when you give CSKT Fish and Game a call. They do need all information and I believe you better give them a call so they can consider yours as well.

gline
gline

2nd paragraph of below referenced wikipedia article:

"Compared to other carnivorous mammals known to attack humans in general, the frequency with which wolves have been recorded to kill or prey on people is much lower, indicating that though potentially dangerous, wolves are among the least threatening for their size and predatory potential.[1]"

I am more wary of Mountain Lions.

gline
gline

wow this argument is so old Time for some other form of recreation?? Boring....

Gadfly
Gadfly

Wolf attacks on man are mostly old Europe and Siberian/Russian folklore. There have been 2 recorded case in North America, one in Saskatchewan in 2005 and one in Alaska; not to argue that it has not happened, but that it is rare to nonexistent.

Roger
Roger

Just more Gadflea lies. Here's a list of people killed by wolves in North America:

Candice Bermer - 2010 - Alaska
Kenton Carnegie - 2005 - Saskatchewan
Patricia Wyman - 1996 - Ontario
Trapper and two natives - 1922 - Ontario
Ben Cochrum - 1922 - Manitoba
James Smith - 1910 - Missouri

Also, a bunch of people have been killed Russia, India, and Afghanistan. Recently a lone wolf attacked Aishat Maksudova outside her sister's home in Russia's province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus Mountains.

In Scotland, during the reign of James VI, wolves were considered such a threat to travelers that special houses called spittals were erected on the highways for protection.[8] In France alone, historical records indicate that between the years 1580-1830, 3,069 people were killed by wolves, 1,857 of which were non-rabid.[9] Italian records indicate that between the 15th-19th centuries, 440 people were killed by wolves in central Po valley.[10] In Imperial Russia 1890, a document was produced stating that 161 people had been killed by wolves in 1871.[8] During the First World War, starving wolves had amassed in great numbers in Kaunas, Vilnius and Minsk and began attacking Imperial Russian and Imperial German fighting forces, causing the two fighting armies to form a temporary truce to fight off the animals.[11]

After the fall of the Soviet Union, those within the new administration discovered documents indicating that several wolf attacks had occurred in villages during the Eastern front. This information was apparently suppressed by the Soviet government in order to hide the consequences of the mass confiscation of firearms during the war.[5]

A hypothesis as to why wolves in Eurasia historically acted more aggressively toward humans than those in North America is that in the past, Old World wolf hunting was mostly an activity for the nobility, whereas American wolf hunts were partaken by ordinary citizens, nearly all of them possessing firearms. This difference could have caused American wolves to be more fearful of humans, making them less willing to venture into settled areas.[12]

Oral histories of Native American tribes indicate they were attacked by wolves on occasion, before the arrival of European settlers. Woodland Indians were usually most at risk, as they would often encounter wolves suddenly, and at close quarters. An old Nunamiut hunter, in an interview with author Barry Lopez, said that wolves used to attack his people, until the introduction of firearms, at which point the attacks ceased.

Traditionally, Hindus have refrained from killing even man-eating wolves, due to the superstition even one drop of wolf blood spilled could result in a bad harvest.[28] During a 2-year period (1996–1997) in Uttar Pradesh, wolves killed or seriously injured 74 humans, mostly children under the age of 10. The attacks were well documented by wolf authorities.[29] One of the worst cases ever recorded occurred in 1878 in British India. During a one year period 624 people were killed by man-eating wolves.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_attacks_on_humans

gline
gline

Interesting Roger, that in your referenced wikipedia article on "man eating wolves", 2nd paragraph states: "Compared to other carnivorous mammals known to attack humans in general, the frequency with which wolves have been recorded to kill or prey on people is much lower, indicating that though potentially dangerous, wolves are among the least threatening for their size and predatory potential.[1]"

I am much more wary of mountain lions.

Jason Maxwell
Jason Maxwell

Roger don't forget Lance Grangaard. December 2012 an Alaskan driving a snowmobile on a frozen creek was attacked by a wolf that left a 3-inch gash in his arm. The wolf took him off his moving snowmobile.

richardr11
richardr11

wish the wolf took that p o s trapper out!

reality22f
reality22f

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/04/wolf-attacks-mother-child-sweden.php http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/local/article_4cbbae62-9709-11e0-ad74-001cc4c03286.html http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/tok-trapper-says-he-was-attacked-wolf-while-snowmachine http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hPRI-uplWPtXANy3cQZFhHp-XdtQ?docId=CNG.2cbd38ae773d89f0471f8d31c2513c98.61 http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/wolves-killed-alaska-teacher-2010-state-says http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenton_Joel_Carnegie_wolf_attack http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/aug/28/wolves-kill-120-sheep-near-dillon-mont/ Gotta love those wolves! The Center of Biological Diversity will sue sue sue.....(their litigation for another 10,000 in the lower 48. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/wolves-12-21-2010.html

Edited by staff.

lostonthefrontier
lostonthefrontier

Someone's kid is going to have to be killed for the wolf lovers to ever even blink an eye.

AAO22
AAO22

@ lostonthefrontier - I agree!! Sadly.

Matthew Koehler
Matthew Koehler

Well, hey, look at the bright side. At least more anti-wolf sentiment and hysteria got to be whipped up....including the tag "Polson Wolves" prominently displayed as a "hot topic" front and center for a few days. Pretty sure even after this correction article people in the area will still be talkin' "Them wolves are even in Polson now."

Wait, what's that up on Mt. Sentinel? Looks like a spaceship with aliens, no I swear it is.

AAO22
AAO22

Nothing has been proved or disproved about the alleged wolves. Eyewitness accounts mean nothing these days without a photo or video.

The Missoulian crew is responsible for the "hot topic" tab... wolves somehow always merit a headline in their wolf-loving newspaper...even "nuclear wolves" in Idaho. WOWZA!

pookiemontana
pookiemontana

what's the big deal?? wolves are everywhere now. who cares

AAO22
AAO22

It was two Sasquatches chasing deer through someone's yard, not wolves. Nope, not precious wolves. Couldn't be. It would be unheard of, right? I mean, there was only a wolf on Kalispell school grounds less than a year ago. THAT one was caught on camera so wildlife officials couldn't deny the validity or blame it on a husky. Oh and don't forget about the wolf that attacked a dog in Florence not too long ago. Biased media and government officials want the public to think its anything but wolves...go ahead Sheeple, keep baaaacking away from common sense.

Just wait...

powderbum
powderbum

That's it...keep calling people names and using derogatory language towards anyone and everyone who does not agree with your outdated beliefs and idea's. Quick question...did you go up to Polson and see the tracks? Did you personally talk to anyone involved? So then, how do you have this special knowledge that no one else seems to have that allows you to know things to be true or false with no real knowledge of the facts or circumstances? Oh we get it you are simply special in your "WOLF SENSING" abilities. All you do is get on these boards and hide behind your anonymity to call other people names and berate fellow posters. Got it....you in fact are a coward...use your real name if you are so tough. You will not because that it what COWARDS DO.

AAO22
AAO22

@ powderbum...are you overly sensitive or what? Maybe your mama still powders your bum??? How do you get anything derogatory from my comment? Making a generalized comment by calling other readers who may be easily swayed by hearsay is hardly berating. Get off your high horse. This is a public comment forum. Why are you not using your real name, powderbum? Oh, its because you're SO TOUGH! Hypocrite.

AAO22
AAO22

I guess eyewitness accounts mean nothing these days...

powderbum
powderbum

SORRY ...PREVIOUS COMMENT IS A RESPONSE TO aao22

Jail
Jail

"He (Dale Becker) and Stacy Courville, CSKT’s wolf management specialist, agree that if a wolf, or wolves, had been in town since late last month they would have received reports of dogs having been attacked or killed by now – wolves view dogs as “trespassing wolves” that must be driven away or killed – but there have been none."

I welcome photo's of the "Polson Wolves". Bring on the Patterson film footage of the Polson wolves!

My concern now is for someone's poor dog getting shot.

AAO22
AAO22

@ jail - First of all, you quote Becker and Courville regarding wolves not killing dogs (yet) but did you think perhaps the wolves were hungry and wanted deer steak for dinner rather than a fight with a domestic dog? Who knows? Now everyone is running on hearsay ...

You say, "My concern now is for someone's poor dog getting shot." ... "IF" the eyewitness reports are incorrect and "IF" the two canines seen chasing deer were in fact pet dogs (the laws may be different on the reservation but in most areas of Montana, including Flathead County) its unlawful to let your dog run at large...and a property owner can legally shoot a dog at large that is chasing and/or harming livestock or pets.

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner of a dog to allow it to Run at Large within Flathead County.
The above shall not prevent the owner or another person from having a dog on a public street, alley, or any public place within Flathead County if the dog is then and there controlled by such person by a chain or leash of not more than six (6) feet in length tied to the dog and held by such person. All dogs licensed or unlicensed running at large shall be impounded.
O. Vicious Dog" means any dog which bites or attempts to bite any human being without provocation and not in defense of person or property, or which harasses, chases, bites, or attempts to bite any other animal. Any dog, while running at large, which bites or attacks any person or animal shall be deemed to be a vicious dog.
http://flathead.mt.gov/animal/documents/dogordinance.pdf

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 - Becker and Courville agreed that if a wolf had been in town that long, the potential for attacks on dogs most likely would have occurred by now. So let's say that these "wolves" killed a deer as there is a reported carcass or two in the area. I would believe that these wolves had their (in your words) steak and may have been wondering around and by chance, happened to attack a dog.

Thanks for quoting Flathead County laws. It is illegal to have a dog run at large in Polson as well and I support that law. I'm pretty sure the dog owner that was frantically searching for her dogs on Dec 28th new that as well. She seemed stressed and was motivated to find them. Hopefully she reads this cause I'm sure she will be happy to learn that AAO22 will probably shoot a dog that is chasing a deer. If you spend any time in Polson you would realize that an animal not on a leash is not strictly enforced.

Can you please make a statement of what all your comments on here are directed at. The only thing I can figure out is that you want everyone to be supper afraid of the Big Bad Wolf and you want to promote wolf sightings in the town. Please quit promoting a "Cry Wolf" attitude. If one truely beleives they see a wolf, call 911, then take some photo's.

It's very important to be educated on and respect wolves. If that means being afraid for you, then that's what it means. When I saw two wolves when I was out hunting, I was both excited and yet, even though I had a rifle with me, I was a bit afraid. Overall, I respected the animal and left it alone since it was a year that hunting wolves was not allowed. It is also important to continually remind the wolf to be afraid of people by hunting them. The wolf reintroduction was good for the environment. Controlling the population of wolves by hunting is also wise.

Jail
Jail

@AAO22 Thanks for including the link above, but you might want to quote the law correct. You state "a property owner can legally shoot a dog at large that is chasing and/or harming livestock or pets." Well that is incorrect sir. I saw nothing that states a property owner being able to legally shoot a dog, only Animal Control Officers or any Law Enforcement Officers may do so. See below quoted form your link above, Section 7, Vicious Dog.

"If any vicious dog is running at large or any dog appears to be mad or dangerous to the public, and it appears to the Animal Control Officer that it is necessary to kill such a dog in order to protect the public from the dog, the Animal Control Officer is hereby authorized to kill the dog."

"If the vicious dog is running at large and the officer is unable to seize and impound such dog, the dog may be killed by any law enforcement or animal control officer of this County without notice.

You are like the people in Polson who have seen wolves in town, you fail to pay attention to detail and go with what you want to see.

rajaju
rajaju

Ha ...Ha....Ha............Ha...........suckers

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