It sounds like a scary bedtime story, but this time, the wolf attack was real.
At kilometre 516 near Schefferville January 22, five men including Dr. Michael Lefson and nursing coordinator Jean-Serge Tremblay – both of whom work at the Chisasibi hospital – set out on a routine hunting trip. To their surprise, it turned out to be much more than that.
At around dinnertime the day before the incident, a wolf was spotted lurking near the camp. Tremblay says he wasn’t that worried because he knew if a wolf were to see a person, it would take off right away. Just in case, however, it was decided that the men would not go to the bathroom alone.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. in the morning, another man who was with the group, the wildlife protection officer, Frederic Leber, woke Tremblay up to go to the bathroom. While they were out with their flashlights, they heard little footsteps in the snow.
“Generally when I would hear [footsteps], I would have stopped and turned around,” Tremblay said. “But for whatever reason, which I cannot explain, something told me to bend down a little bit. As soon as I did that, a wolf attacked me from behind and if I didn’t bend down, he would have got me on the neck. He bit me right under the left shoulder in the back.”
Thankfully, Tremblay says, because the wolf had to leap at him, the animal couldn’t hold on and went flying. After realizing what had happened, Tremblay turned around and “pumped two shots in him.” Leber also began yelling to try to scare the wolf away. The wolf didn’t budge; he just stood there staring Tremblay in the eyes. Tremblay then proceeded to fire two more shots at him but missed. Eventually with the threat dissipating, the men returned to camp.
The wound was minor, but the men knew they had to get to a hospital in the morning.
The next day, the men were eating their breakfast when they noticed a couple of wolves on their hind legs, peering in through the cabin window. They decided that the threat of another attack was very real and they had to be extra cautious. Despite this, they needed a sample of one of the wolves to transport to the hospital to see if they had rabies.
Two of the men went to the window and opened it, as they were doing this, one of the wolves tried to get in through the screen. Dr. Lefson then shot the wolf a few times until he was dead. “I was surprised, one minute he was pretty far away, the next minute he was right in our face,” said Dr. Lefson.
The Chissiabi men speculate the wolves attacked because of hunger. Tremblay also mentioned that the area appears sparsely populated with the wolves’ natural prey.
The carcass was taken to hospital to be examined, but at press time, the test results had not yet come back. All three men involved received rabies shots at the Chisasibi hospital.