Headless Frank...

advisor to the lovelorn, weary, confused, and the overly self-involved

headless frank

Dear Headless Frank:

We are about to leave for a camping vacation that will take us into wolf country. Since you have a well-known affinity for animals, I'm hoping you can give us some tips on how to deal with any wolves that we might meet while out hiking. We would like to return home in one piece. Thank you.
—Nature lover who wants to be safe

Dear Nature lover etc.—
Why go camping in wolf country when you could go hiking on the rim of a live volcano, or sunbathing in a folding chair straddling Old Faithful, or swimming with the piranhas in the Amazon?

Okay, so much for sarcasm. I understand that nature includes risks—and as a nature lover you actually want to see some wildlife.

So you must use the Ways of Nature to protect yourself. Nature is a world of prey and predator—so if you are going into wolf territory you need to think like prey.

Here are some do’s and don’t’s to increase your odds of surviving:


  • Wear plenty of wolf repellant (please no aerosol cans in the wilderness) — however, do this only if you don’t mind smelling like an alligator for a few days.
  • Take along a large moose. Believe me, if a wolf comes upon your party, he won’t be going for the skimpy little primates with their whimpering cellphones and bandanas that get stuck in your teeth. That would be like going to a steak barbeque and opting for the drummettes.
  • If you can’t see your way to getting a moose to the trailhead—like you can’t fit it in your vehicle (you know, if you can’t fit a moose in your vehicle you might re-think your readiness for the wild) or you don’t want to invest in a collar and retractable leash—I’d suggest taking milk bones. After all, wolves are just wild DOGS. Milk bones, squeaky toys, a frisbee might provide all the entertainment they need…especially if they’ve already eaten recently.
  • If you are approached by a wolf who bares his teeth and growls, the Literature says you should "make yourself big" but I don’t know how you can do a major weight gain in the few seconds available—I mean you’d need to have a lot of bread and ice cream at your immediate disposal. I suppose you could raise your hands, but that’s sort of like presenting the menu, it seems to me. Showing the drummettes, if you will.
  • Climb a tree—but watch out for bears.
  • Do what you are—pray.


  • Pet them. After all, wolves are WILD dogs .
  • Run. Everybody knows that. They run on four legs, you have two—and they see you as kind of a tasty squeaky toy.
  • Stand and fight. 1) you will lose; 2) what kind of nature lover are you?? Mainly, think about number 1: your teeth are way too small and ineffectual, plus this is one situation where there is little advantage in having an opposable thumb.
  • If you pray, don’t do one of those long, droning invocations. Wolves have no patience with that and will scarf you down before you can say "almighty and ever-living God."

Have a great vacation.

Signing off: Medulla oblongata.