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Encounter with pack of wolves leaves Yellowknife woman ‘absolutely terrified’

Yellowknifer Stephanie Yuill had an encounter with wildlife over the weekend that left her shaken.

Yellowknifer Stephanie Yuill had an encounter with wildlife over the weekend that left her shaken.

“I literally came around this corner and I’m like, ‘Oh, look at that dog team. One, two, three, four… nine of them. Aren’t they beautiful?’ Because they were sort of fanned out and they were uniform in size — like, they were all about the same size and around the same colour,” Yuill recounted. “And then they started howling and then I started getting really scared. I’m going to be bluntly honest, I was absolutely terrified. I’ve never encountered anything like that.”

She realized it was a pack of wolves that got approximately 200 feet from her at one point while she was walking her dogs near the Ingraham Trail, along the Fox Lake shoreline on Saturday.

Her dogs bolted away from the danger.

She initially banged her ski poles and screamed to scare off the predators.

She said the wolves did not seem aggressive, but curious and cautious.

“They were just watching me. They were just sitting there watching me and then they would howl and then they would watch me some more,” she said.

Despite the fear and adrenaline, Yuill managed to keep her wits about her. She climbed a nearby hydro tower and called Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) for help, all the while keeping a wary eye on the wolves.

The animals started to spread out.

“They all went back and one of them stayed in the middle of the lake, and the other two sort of kept pacing. Then the other six disappeared and they were howling and at that point, your imagination’s going a bit crazy,” she said.

Then they were gone.

The unsettling encounter probably lasted two or three minutes, she estimated, admitting that it’s difficult to maintain a concept of time under such harrowing circumstances. But it happened between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., she noted.

She managed to reunite with her dogs and got them leashed.

Although the most frightening, this was not Yuill’s first encounter with wolves. She had seen them before, on the land and crossing roads, but she witnessed that while safely inside a vehicle.

When thinking about her weekend experience, Yuill appeared emotional.

“I feel very vulnerable, I’ve never felt vulnerable in the outdoors before,” she said. “I’ve got friends who are very comfortable in the outdoors and I’ve always felt, like, really comfortable outside, and this has just shaken me up a little bit long-term.”

Based on Yuill’s weekend encounter with the wolves, she wants to enhance her skills and knowledge in case she ever faces them again. However, she also promotes the idea that humans and wild animals coexist in nature, and that people should be prepared and respectful of nature when exploring the outdoors.

When wolves are known to be in the area, ECC recommends keeping pets on a leash at all times, even in designated off-leash areas. In the event of encountering a wolf while walking a dog, owners are advised to bring their pets to heel at their side immediately.

Additionally, the department advises residents to travel in groups, especially when walking after dark.

Any wolf sightings should be reported without delay. An on-call North Slave duty officer can be reached at 1-867-446-2073.

About the Author: Kaicheng Xin

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