General Outdoors News

Minnesota Teen Alive Following State’s First Confirmed Wolf Attack

A survey conducted in 2008 pegged Minnesota's wolf population at 2,921 animals. According to the state's Department of Natural Resources, there has been no significant change in poulation over the last 10 years, signifying a full recovery.

A survey conducted in 2008 pegged Minnesota's wolf population at 2,921 animals. According to the state's Department of Natural Resources, there has been no significant change in poulation over the last 10 years, signifying a full recovery.

Minnesota resident Noah Graham, 16, is now being treated for a head wound and possible rabies infection after a violent encounter with a gray wolf on Saturday. According to WCCO, the teen became a victim of the first recorded wolf attack in Minnesota during a visit to Lake Winnibigoshush. Graham was staying at the West Winnie Campground with friends from his church, and was preparing to sleep when the wolf approached the camp in the early morning. The teen did not see the animal coming and only knew he was under attack when he felt the wolf biting his head.

“The wolf just came up behind Noah, he didn’t hear anything, and it just grabbed him by the back of the head and wouldn’t let go,” Noah’s father Scott Graham told WCCO. ““He had to physically pry the jaws of the wolf open […] to get it off of him.”

It eventually took shouting and kicks to drive the estimated 75-pound animal out of the camp, but the teen did not escape unscathed. A large laceration on the back of Graham’s head required 17 staples and the bite carried with it the risk of rabies. Although rabies treatment no longer requires painful injections in the stomach, the process is still expensive and time-consuming. Rabies is only successfully treated in the early stages of the illness, before symptoms show.

Trappers working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture were able to capture and euthanize the wolf, which was later sent to a diagnostic lab to test for disease.

“Our records do not reflect that we’ve had wolf attacks like this in Minnesota,” said Col. Ken Soring, director of enforcement for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Wolf attacks are rare and even unheard of in many states, although farmers say wolves present a constant threat to their livestock. Gray wolves were once all but extinct in the lower 48 states, but a successful restoration program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and conservationists have returned the species to a fraction of their natural range. With growing populations, many fear that the wolves will begin to have a bigger impact on wild game, livestock, and even cause confrontations with humans.

The laboratory found that the wolf that attacked Graham had a deformed jaw, which may explain why the wolf was so close to the campground. The deformity could have made the animal reliant on scraps left by the campers to survive.

“It’s too early to speculate as far as the condition or the causes with this animal, but it is not characteristic of wolves to approach people,” Col. Soring said.

Image courtesy T. Meier/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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  • Chad Majerus

    Everyone needs to do their part to make these predators extinct again. There is a reason why they were killed off before. And it wasn’t for fun, it was for survival. So they are pretty to look at… sure until they latch onto your skull…

    • Douglas Riva

      First off. Extinction means the species no longer exists.
      They were never extinct. If they would have reached extinction there would be noway to bring them back.
      Secondly. We should never push any animal to extinction. We need to learn to cope with nature and exist in harmony.
      If you walk into the woods, or swim in the ocean you must realize that you are entering a world where you are no longer on top of the food chain.
      If you aren’t willing to accept that then stay indoors where you’ll be safe.
      Let the rest of us enjoy nature for all of its danger and beauty. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it should be done away with.
      Nature is dangerous. If you don’t like it, don’t go into it.

      • Chad Majerus

        yes your right. I changed it to almost… still our ancestors knew an over abundance of dangerous animals vs humans does not mix. And now we reintroduce them and they are getting dangerous again. If I run into one in the woods hunting and it does not fear me and run, it sure as hell won’t make it long.

      • liliq

        Does the same hold true with competing hunters next to you?

      • Chad Majerus

        If they attack me of course.

      • Jason Haggard

        So according to your own way of thinking, if you attack someone then I should hunt you down and kill you and everyone associated with you. Its a shame that intelligent people have to share oxygen with you.

      • Chad Majerus

        That response is the typical stupidity I expected to hear. Animals are here to serve us. Or rather be served by us. When predators are eating livestockthat we raise for food/wild game I hunt for food, and cause harm to us as humans, then they are over populated and need dealt with. Luckily the DNR is at least slightly started to see an issue and opened a season.

      • Jason Haggard

        They were here long before you were even thought of but you think they are here to serve you. Arrogant and ignorant is a combination that destroys a society and you mastered them both. Nothing is here to serve you, you are not a king and you surely are not a God but you can go on pretending in your own twisted little world that you are.

        Indians had no problem coexisting with them at all but that concept is so far beyond your grasp that its comical.

      • Chad Majerus

        Keep eating you tofu and veggies, I’ll stick with red meat. If wolf tastes good I’ll eat that too…

      • Jason Haggard

        And you’re even stupid enough to think that I’m a vegetarian, have you ever come across a wolf in the wild? I doubt it. I grew up with them on my property and guess what they didn’t kill off all of the deer because we didn’t have any problem filling our tags each year. Chances are that you would piss yourself if you ever came face to face with one outside of a zoo. You would be outside of a protected environment. Be sure to wrap yourself in Charmin before you leave the house, we wouldn’t want you to bump into a street sign and want to exterminate every contractor in sight or better yet start suing everyone because you can’t fend for yourself.

      • shawn haggard

        Hi, Jason! Caught you last name and decided to say hi to my cuz!

      • Rick

        Do you still see horse drawn wagon trains coming West? This is 2013 NOT 1813… we have evolved a little. Making certain comparisons in a certain time period and not mentioning the entire picture of life in that period makes you look stupid and your argument invalid. Wolves “HAD” a place, they no longer serve a purpose. Humans in the sport of hunting have taken over as the apex predator. No matter how idyllic you think it was back whenever, you won’t “will” the turning back of time and humans are here to stay and continuous expansion into ALL wild animal habitat… it’s called reality. I have no problem sharing the wilderness with wild animals, even a few wolves, but tell your loathsome, ignorant POTUS POS to stop taking my rights away to defend myself against animals that have become fearless of humans because you ignorant tree hugging bunny lovers think they are cute.

      • Douglas Riva

        Animals aren’t here to serve us. We’re no better than them. In fact it would be easy to make an argument showing how much better they are at existing on this planet.
        That kind of thinking is how we’ve gotten into the mess of depleting natural resources and ruining our planet.

      • Douglas Riva

        Our ancestors were actually fighting to survive and were also largely ignorant of the repercussions of thier actions when it came to nature and balance.
        One attack doesn’t justify slaughtering every animal of the species. If that’s how we handled things we should have exterminatedour own species eons ago.
        We’re far more dangerous than any animal.
        And if you go and just shoot a walk because he didn’t cower in fear you’ll be breaking several federal laws and will be imprisoned and also proving how much more dangerous you are as a human.
        Like I said before, once you enter the woods you’re no longer in charge and on top.

      • jc

        no. just no. wolves do not attack humans. never have in meaningful numbers. wolves have been driven to near extinction for two reasons. First is that they do kill livestock. I get it; if I were a rancher, I’d hate them, too. Second is superstition like what you are saying here, and it’s truly no better than superstition. Worse, because you have access to better info. Predators are not bad, though. They are vital for a healthy environment. We are better off with them, and it just takes a minor amount of intelligence and effort to live with them.

      • CrustyOldGeezer

        nah, we are always the “top of the food chain”, assuming that you have the intelligence to plan on staying on top.

        I’m working on a plan to get liberal politicians and the people that vote for them to become interested in vacationing in a ‘primitive’ setting free from the worries of guns and other evil weapons.

        There are some awesome locations in Montana and Idaho where watching wolves cavort and play in their natural habitat….

    • liliq

      There was a reason that the buffalo were wiped from the plains, to drive the indigenous inhabitants to a different food source. If you can’t protect yourself in the woods, then stay home, The concept of having to child proof the woods for a Disneyana experience is foul and offensive. Go watch Steve Irwin and stay out of the woods.

  • Tim F

    There is something wrong with this story. If the wolf had a deformed jaw that would only allow him to eat scraps, then how is it that it attacked a human latching onto his head?!

    • liliq

      Would probably have split the skull and lunched on the brains if the jaw were intact. A good shepherd bite would amputate an arm, wolves weigh a tad more than 75 pounds, this sounds like a starving juvenile

      • Tim peterson

        I really think all people should deal with the true reality that if you go on the woods you might get hurt.Myself and my daughter go in the woods all the time and guess what , we are still here and unhurt. To the guy that thinks we should do away with the predators, you disgust me, and I hope you don’t call yourself a hunter.

  • jraulpilot

    Another reason to provide supervised Firearms training to “youngsters” and allow concealed carry in “The Woods”. Firearms are a “tool”….a Survival tool. (Too bad some “humans” use it to hurt people.