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June 09, 2008

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Bear Hunter Kills Montana Wolf In Self-Defense

Spotting movement in woods, black bear hunter Zachary Harms jumped out of his truck, grabbed his rifle, and began walking up the road when two wolves suddenly bolted from the forest, one of them running right at him.

At 10 yards, he shot the wolf in the head.

“Based on the evidence, this was a justifiable self-defense shooting,” warden Lee Anderson told The Missoulan.


Ralph the Rifleman

Wow, glad the hunter came out ahead on this one!...did he get to keep the pelt?


That poor wolf.All he probably wanted was a pat on the head or a dog treat. After all wolves will never harm people.The wolf is the greatest restoration project of the federal goverment HA,HA,HA.It only decimated the elk herd in yellowstone


I'm dubious in the extremo on this one, sports fans.


This is crap. I have had foxes and coyotes run toward me on several occasions,usually focused on mice or other pray. This is a case of a wolf hater looking for an alibi.


Where have you been in yellow stone? They didn't decimate the elk herds.



If the evidence points towards self defense then there is nothing that can be done... but like the other guy said i have also had foxes and cyotes running straight at me when they were focused on something else. This may have been the case or maybe they really were gonna attack him!!!


Is June hunting season on bear or anything else? If not why exit the truck?


I suspect some people in this chat room wouldn't shoot a charging wolf 10 yards away. I my mind this is just evolution in practice. The people who don't own guns and / or think wolves are cute fluffy people with 4 legs would be eaten and the rest of us would have a new pelt. Thus we would improve the gene pool.

Mike Diehl

It was a legitimate self-defense shot and Harms is to be commended for holding off as long as he did. He could have shot that wolf at 50 yards and it would still be legit self defense, IMO.

WA Mtnhunter

Well, the wolves would have had to take 10 percent ofthe Yellowstone herd to truly decimate it. What are the real numbers?


I work in Yellowstone and there are plenty of elk, and plenty of wolves, I think sometimes people pull the trigger to quick because they have no experience around large predators. Self defense is fine with me. Pelts really aren't worth it. I still manage to get elk every year even though the herd is decimated, those who believe that are either ignorant or are getting their information fed to them by people who dont like wolves. Predators and prey evolved together and believe it or not they are both still here, one side never wins. they cant kill all the elk, and the wolves cant all feed themselves.


I don't know how you can ever prove these things are not self defense. The only witnesses are squirrels and blue jays and they don't talk. ;-)

I guess they look at bullet placement (front of the head). But if a wolf, especially a protected one, is simply looking at you; you can shoot them in the forehead.

As for 10 yards, how can you tell from the carcass if it was 10 or 200? You will get pass through on the head at any distance.

I guess the best evidence is the guy reported it and didn't simply flee the area.


The most compelling evidence came from the forensics done on the shooter's Fruit of the Looms. I know I would have left a clue "behind" if a wolf charged at me to within 10 yards!


Deak, great comment!

WA Mtnhunter



Sportsman Matt

having faced dangerous animals in the past, I would have to say that Harms did the right thing. Only a fool would let an animal within 10 yards and figure nothing would happen. The problem out there is that most people are too accustomed to having the neighbors dog come running through the yard and play with whoever they find. Wolves are not dogs, they are not domesticated, they are a predator, one of natures geneticly designed animal control species. They prey on anything they can eat, and they don't care if it's larger than them or not. So for those who pity the poor wolf, think about how Harms family and friends would feel if he didn't shoot, and didn't fight back.
Kudos to Mr. Harms, for his quick thinking and response to a deadly encounter.

For the record I am not anti anything other than anti-stupidity and anti-moronic, but unfortuantely there are laws out there that don't let evolution remove the stupid people from society or the planet.


mtelkhunter-I know for fact that in the mid to late 70's the northern herd alone was over 14,000 head. Before the wolves, in the Cooke City area, moose were a common site. The last 3 times I've been up there, I've seen no moose, which we used to see walking through town, no elk, and several outfitters are selling out because there is no game.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

If a wolf got within 10 yds of me and coming straight to me, I also would try to shoot it. I know litle of wolves, other than they are dangerous to humans and life. As for their impact on Yellowstone, I have read they have in some areas completly wiped the herd down to almost zero. If I were hunting in Bear, Elk, Deer Wolf country and a wolf approached me, I would shot him first then my Elk, etc. May not be legal, but so is killing me not legal also.Any animal that would eat me, I prefer to defend myself, regardless of legal or not. To me, I come first. I;ve been thru Yellowstone twice and never saw a Elk. Did see a few Bison, Moose, but never Elk.




Don, I do understand that at one time it was as high as 14,000 now it is in the mid 8,000. I too remember watching starving and skinny elk pour out of the park as the snow fell. Remember there are more bears, and cougars now, both of who kill elk. Years of drought along with liberal hunting-allowing hunters to take either sex elk throughout the season outside of the park have all had their effect on the population. Believe me there are still plenty of elk, if you dont see elk in Yellowstone your either not looking, not up at the right time of day, or your in the wrong place. Just drive Mammoth hot springs. And remember you have visited the area a couple of times, I LIVE in montana and have spent a hundred days a year for the last 9 in Yellowstone working. I am ok with self defense, im not ok with people claiming that there is no more elk, that is ridiculous.I will continue to chase elk here When I hunt believe it or not Sometimes I hear wolves howl and believe it or not the bulls still bugle. And I fill my freezer almost every year with elk.

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