Author Topic: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!  (Read 902 times)

gunwharfman

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For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« on: 20:09:11, 26/01/18 »
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/26/harmless-or-vicious-hunter-the-uneasy-return-of-europes-wolves

I havn't had the chance to read it yet but after my GR4 hike in the south of France last May and constantly being warned by locals to watch out for wolves, wild boar and agressive sheep dogs I will read it closely later, when I return from the pub.

gunwharfman

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ninthace

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #2 on: 20:25:24, 26/01/18 »
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/26/harmless-or-vicious-hunter-the-uneasy-return-of-europes-wolves

I havn't had the chance to read it yet but after my GR4 hike in the south of France last May and constantly being warned by locals to watch out for wolves, wild boar and agressive sheep dogs I will read it closely later, when I return from the pub.


You are more at risk from the local domestic stock!  I spent 5 yrs hiking the Pyrenees and never saw a bear or a wolf though they were rumoured to be about (the bears were definite but I think the wolves probably were a rumour). I saw plenty of roe and red deer, marmots and izards all of which were harmless.  We had hundreds of wild boar locally but I probably saw more on my plate than I did in the wild - those I did see in the woods high tailed it as soon as they saw me.  The sheep dogs make a lot of noise but if you stay away from their flock they are fine. I did once have to tell a vulture to move on when it mistook my pause to read the map for weakness.
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gunwharfman

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #3 on: 21:45:07, 26/01/18 »
You suggest that you used a polite British few words to the vulture? No swearing involved?

ninthace

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #4 on: 22:08:17, 26/01/18 »
Fortunately, I can swear fluently in French and since it was a French vulture......... although come to think of it, since I was using a border marker as a map rest, it could have been a foreigner. They ainít half big close too though  :)
Solvitur Ambulando

Owen

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #5 on: 11:08:26, 27/01/18 »

I found these prints outside my tent when backpacking in Sweden two years ago. I'd not seen any people for three days and dogs are supposed to be band in the National Parks. They weren't there the night before, so they must have tip-toed past me in the night.
 
IMG_0600 by Owen Merrick, on Flickr
IMG_0601 by Owen Merrick, on Flickr


There were two animals one larger than the other, my boots are size 11 for comparison.
I've also come across animal droppings containing lots of berries which I suspected were bear scat, but I've never seen either animals.

pdstsp

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #6 on: 13:38:37, 28/01/18 »
Don't laugh but..


Four years ago I cycled an end to end of France.  On one day in the Massif Central an animal appeared in the road about 20-30 meters in front of me.  I am a dog owner but I immediately thought that this creature was not a dog.  I stopped, got off the bike and kept it between me and the animal, which did not seem at all spooked by my presence, unlike me who was a "bit" nervous.  The animal then trotted past me, but keeping a distance of about three meters from me.  It did not walk like a dog.  I am no naturalist but my immediate thought was that this was a wolf, but I was surprised that it didn't run off when it came across me.  I was nowhere near any houses at the time.  That evening I asked the hotelier whether it may have been a wolf and he just shrugged (what else would a Frenchman do), and said that there had been reports of wolves in the area.  I'll never know whether it was a wolf one way or the other, but at least whatever it was didn't eat me.


Whatever it was, it was a very beautiful creature.


On the other hand I have been very badly spooked by the shepherd's dogs in the alps - on one occasion having to completely re-route a day just to get past a flock in a small valley.
« Last Edit: 13:42:44, 28/01/18 by pdstsp »

gunwharfman

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #7 on: 19:31:51, 28/01/18 »
Yes, those pesky shepherd dogs have spooked me as well. I had a run in with one last may in Provence. Luckily, I backed off and so did he!

pdstsp

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #8 on: 16:08:03, 29/01/18 »
Maybe they're more laid back in Provence!  The one I came across sauntered down to a path I was on, which had one of those low "string" fences and gave me a warning growl.  I retreated.  When I tentatively tried again I got a snarl which left me in no doubt that there were no more warning levels.  Unfortunately the path was contouring round a steep hillside so my only option was to bravely retreat and find another way round.

vizzavona

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #9 on: 16:54:27, 29/01/18 »
We had a similar kind-of not sure situation when we came across a burly dog beside a gate that would have allowed us to continue on our route (GR52) down to Sospel after leaving the Mercantour.  We took a bit of a break until two Swiss folks whom we had spoken to at the previous refuge came to the area. No problem was their response to the the large dog....you really only have a problem with these fellows when their flock of sheep is nearby....no sheep near it is OK to advance. It would seem that the shepherds around this area  have two types of dog when earlier in the day we had spoken with the shepherd and had a bit of fun with his two Border Collies that we assume were used as they are in GB for moving the flocks of sheep.
I guess that the burly ones are for guarding the flock.

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: For those of us who hike in France. Wolves!
« Reply #10 on: 09:05:36, 02/02/18 »
I've seen wolves once, in Ukraine but they weren't a worry as they were fleeing from a massive bush fire (which was a worry).


Bears I've only seen one in Europe as well, in the mountains of Albania (I wasn't even aware there were bears in the area until I saw it) but when it realised there were quite a few of us it just wandered off grumpily. I hadn't even considered the possibility of running into either on a hike. I'll be forever looking out for them in Europe now and checking if there are any known to be in the area before going anywhere.


It won't stop me going there though as they're generally not aggressive towards people. Might see about getting bear spray though, they are bloody scary when there's no barriers to separate you from them.
« Last Edit: 10:45:18, 02/02/18 by The Wondering Wanderer »
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.