Hunter fights off wolf pack with .380 pocket gun
While scouting for deer sign before the start of the season in Wisconsin, Matthew Nellessen found himself face to face with a trio of hungry wolves and, according to reports, was forced to take action.
Nellessen, who served in the 11 years in the Army in two separate enlistments including overseas service in Afghanistan, spotted a wolf about 30 feet away and soon spotted two more animals flanking him.
Seeing retreat as not a valid option, he reached for his Walther PK380, a single-stack short recoil semi-auto that looks like a stretched .22 LR Walther P22, and chambered a round.
“It all happened so fast,” said Nellessen. "It was maybe 3-4 seconds and the wolves were on me.”
In the end, one animal was shot and limped away, the other two retreating along with the apparent alpha male. As the PK380 is an 8-shot weapon and the hunter was faced with multiple targets and potentially a larger pack in the tree line, he came off lucky.
Nellessen was able to withdraw and contacted authorities to explain what happened, and then led conservation officers back to the scene where they found a blood trail but no wolf.
In a follow-up Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the incident, the hunter expressed sorrow for the prospect of the injured wolf despite the attack.
"I hope it's all right," Nellessen said. "The thing is, I love wolves. I wouldn't ever shoot one if I didn't feel like I was in danger."
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, its estimated there are about 750 wolves in the state and, while there was a wolf attack reported in neighboring Minnesota in 2013, there has not been on in modern history in Wisconsin barring Nellessen's incident, which they are investigating.
Of course, anti-hunting groups with an agenda are spinning the story as some sort of fairy tale engineered to sell guns or cover up an illegal wolf hunt without any hard evidence of either.
Because you go illegal wolf hunting with a .380 and then call DNR about it immediatley after.
On a Facebook page maintained by Nellessen's wife, she called out those who question his version of the event.
"We got confirmation today after speaking with US Wildlife Federal Special Agent at our home that no charges will be issued due to the fact it was clearly self-defense because the wolves were in fact attacking him," wrote Nicky Nellessen. "He informed us that there was never a case or case # given to him in this report because of the evidence collected by the DNR supported his claim from the beginning. He also said his visit with us was the last step in this 'investigation.' He needed to speak to us to verify everything before the reports are finalized."
The prospect of carrying a sidearm in the woods for defense against snakes, canines, and feral boars is a very real one.
For instance, last February Chris Morris was hunting along the Pearl River and was attacked by a 140-pound boar. Although armed with a .22 magnum, things went south fast.
"I was on my back, and he was between my legs. I was kicking, trying to keep him away from my thighs," Morris said. "He was steadily just gashing back and forth. He gashed my left knee a little bit, punctured my right knee and my calf. When he did that, he actually bit me. When he grabbed my calf, I grabbed his snout."
In the end the hunter was able to get a round into the beast, who stopped the attack and skulked off back into the brush-- but left Morris so cut up that he needed hospitalization and two surgeries to correct.
This led Morris to help push for legislation to allow Louisiana bow hunters to step up from .22 handguns to as high as .45 which was signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal in June, changing the regs effective this hunting season.