On Thursday, January 30, a Missoula man had an encounter with a wolf pack on Marshall Mountain, and successfully walked away.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wolf Specialist Liz Bradley said on Monday, February 3, that she was surprised to hear of wolves down that low on Marshall Mountain.

"I don't know of a pack specifically in that area," Bradley said. "I do get reports of wolves higher up on the mountain, but that's the lowest I've had a report in quite a while. However, it's not unusual during the winter months to have sightings of wolves or mountain lions in lower elevations, because that's where the game is, where the deer and the elk tend to go, and that's where they can come into contact with humans, as well."

Bradley said she is watching carefully for any other wolf sightings in that area.

"I'm really keeping an ear out to see if we are getting any other reports in there," Bradley said. "This is the only one so far. We've been out there looking in the area since that report, but there's been a lot of new snow, so it's difficult to find any new tracks. However, we are following up, and checking to see if there are any wolves in the area."

Bradley has advice for people who recreate in areas where large predators may be looking for game.

"Just leave the area," Bradley said. "There's no reason to run, but just quietly leave the area, especially if you have a dog. Make sure it's under voice command, or on a leash. If a wolf or mountain lion approaches you, the thing to do is make a lot of loud noises, make yourself known and try to scare them off. In most cases, if wolves see you, they're going to move off, even though they can be very aggressive towards dogs, but usually, your presence should be enough to divert them. If you do see wolves in that area, or any other place close to town, please contact me immediately."

Bradley said there's a great deal of information regarding wolves on the FWP website, or she can be reached at the Missoula Fish, Wildlife and Parks office at 542-5523.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wolf Specialist Liz Bradley