HARVEY HUMCHITT JR. PHOTO A screenshot from the YouTube video of a wolf encounter Harvey Humchitt Jr. filmed in 2013.

Island lighthouse keeper chased by wolf

He now has some important advice for anyone else caught in a similar situation

Cape Scott Provincial Park, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, is known for its sandy beaches and old-growth rainforest, but it’s also a place where it’s not uncommon to spot a wolf.

Harvey Humchitt Jr. was born and raised on the coast in Bella Bella and has been working as the Cape Scott Lighthouse Keeper for 18 years, and also has been with the Coast Guard for over 25. Throughout his extensive career working on the coast in remote locations, this first week of December was the only time in his life that Humchitt Jr. has ever been chased by a wolf.

“I’d just left the radio room and I was on my way to check my fuel – along the way I heard a rustling in the brush and I turned my flashlight toward the sound and out lunges this really young wolf,” said Humchitt Jr., in an interview with the Gazette.

He immediately saw that the gate was open and ran back towards the house, when the wolf gave chase.

“It caught up to me when I got to the gate – it was close enough to take a bite and it did, three snaps,” said Humchitt Jr, adding, “In all my years I’ve never ever heard of a wolf giving chase to a person before.”

After making it inside the house just in time, the reality of the situation hit him. “I think every single one of my senses were 100 per cent in operation and my adrenaline was really high. I could feel my heart just racing,” said Humchitt Jr., adding, “When I got in the house the fear hit me, and I realized how close I was to getting bitten by a wolf.”

Humchitt Jr. has seen many wolves before at the light station, but mostly they are just passing through and he’s spotted them from a safe distance. He even filmed a clip of a wolf visit a few years ago and put it up on his YouTube channel.

However, after the encounter, he did some research and checked in with some wolf specialists and learned he was actually at fault for the near attack.

“My action of running caused the wolf to give chase, because wolves are called course hunters meaning they kill their prey on the run, so if I stopped running and faced the wolf and started walking backward I wouldn’t have been chased by the wolf any longer,” he explained.

Humchitt Jr. said since the experience he has learned that the proper thing to do if you come face to face with a wolf is stand your ground and make yourself really big.

If you have a jacket, unzip it and flip it up over your head to make yourself look bigger than normal and then back away slowly.

As a last resort, the best thing to do is curl into a ball and protect all of your vital organs and hope the wolf backs off.

“It was one of the things that made me think that when they say these creatures out in the wild are unpredictable they really mean it – they’re unpredictable,” he said.

Humchitt Jr. added he hopes that his experience will help educate people, rather than deter them from visiting Cape Scott. He stated he wants “everybody to enjoy their experience at Cape Scott, it is such a beautiful park – there has never been an attack on a human reported at Cape Scott and we are lucky that way.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Affordable seniors housing complex pitched for Nanaimo’s hospital district

Seafield Crescent complex would include two five-storey buildings

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Blockades violating people’s rights to move freely

Too many protesters clearly believe their rights supersede other citizens’ rights, says letter writer

Quarterway, Cilaire have the right touch in football playoffs

Nanaimo Elementary Teachers’ Physical Education Association organized leagues this past fall

Students projected to be in new wing of École Hammond Bay in two years

Project to expand north-end French immersion school to add 13 classrooms

Crimson Coast Dance Society salutes African dance during Black History Month

Dancers from Mozambique, Rwanda and Cameroon to give demonstrations and lessons

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Forestry convoy headed down Vancouver Island to legislature lawn

Rally to be held Tuesday in Victoria pushing for the protection of ‘working forests’

Woman charged after alleged fuel thefts, ramming of RCMP car in B.C. Interior

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

Most Read