Other Fierce Wildlife

April 23rd, 2010


So you thought bears were the only wildlife to worry about! Well, there’s more. These are the top 3 animals I suggest you be on the lookout for.


Bears don’t bother me, but wolves… wolves come in packs! So unless I am in a “pack” of people, I feel nervous. In Nahanni, by Dick Turner (an excellent read!) there are stories of wolves hunting hunters and trappers (perhaps it was karma?!), and this was quite enough to scare me. Recently, I asked a trapper friend of mine, and he said that they aren’t

really that bad. They generally stay far away from people. A solid bonk on the head, or bridge of the nose, will do them in, if necessary. I don’t carry a gun, and I don’t think having one would be an advantage unless you are really comfortable using it. Aiming and missing just uses up your valuable time and brainpower — one of the few advantages we have over wildlife. (We are noticeably lacking pointy teeth and claws.)
Wolves really don’t like to be around human settlements, which explains why you’ve probably never seen one. Don’t worry — you still probably won’t. You might hear them though… let their cry sink into your soul — it’s pretty amazing. And then try to sleep! 🙂


Completely unrelated to wolves, the wolverine is quite legendary for its fierceness. You do not want to meet one of these in the bush. About the size of a medium dog, and looking a bit like a bear with an inferiority complex, they are fast, fearless, and have pointy teeth and claws. They aren’t stupid either — no animal is — read this short webpage or go here or here for a little bit more info. Always keep your eyes out for animals you might be disturbing as you walk on the shores of the waters you paddle.


Ok, I’m half-serious! You won’t need to worry about keeping an eye out for these… they’ll find you! They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we all exhale, so unless you plan on stopping breathing, these critters are a fact of life. The first ones of the year, in April/May are kind of big and slow, but the ones that emerge later are fast and fierce. Apparently, these two types are different species, and there are in fact about 3500 different species in the world. One good thing about the swarms — You don’t need to worry about catching West Nile here. The species that carries it can’t live this far north. They need a little open water year-round, and there’s no question that all of ours freezes!

So there’s no threat to your life, just your sanity! Seriously, the best way to combat them is with bug-screen hats, jackets, etc. Repellent containing DEET also works, but it’s a chemical and not the only solution. They are always worse in the evening and walking through grass or bush will stir them up.They are attracted to dark colours, so dress light. More on mosquitos another time…