The wolf attack by a lone and deformed wolf in Minnesota ended when 16-year-old Noah Graham physically pried the jaws of the wolf open. When describing the wolf attack, Scott Graham, Noah’s father, says that the attack was quiet and sudden. “The wolf just came up behind Noah, he didn’t hear anything, and it just grabbed him by the back of the head and wouldn’t let go. He had to physically pry the jaws of the wolf open…to get it off of him. And once he got it off of him and he was up, the wolf stood there growling at him. And he had to shout at it and kick at it to get it to go away.” According to an Aug. 27, 2013, Minneapolis Star Tribune report, Noah Graham was attacked by the wolf while sleeping.
Around 4 a.m. on Saturday, 16-year-old Noah Graham from Solway in Minnesota was sleeping outside his tent near the shore at the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish in north central Minnesota.
According to Tom Provost, the regional manager for the Department of Natural Resources enforcement division in Grand Rapids, the teen “didn’t hear or see the animal until it bit him on the back of the head. He struggled to escape from its jaws and got up. The wolf didn’t run off until he kicked it.”
After the wolf attack, nearby family and friends administered first aid to stop the bleeding. Noah Graham was taken to a Bemidji hospital, where he was treated and released for puncture wounds on the right and left sides of his face and a 4-inch laceration on his head.
According to a video report, the sharp teeth of the wolf left a laceration on the rear of Noah’s skull which required 17 staples to close. In addition, Noah has several puncture wounds behind his left ear. Scott Graham says his son is doing fine and has already begun a regimen of shots to fight off the potential for rabies.
While Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officers were interviewing other campers after the wolf attack, a wolf was spotted near the campground but it escaped. During a second encounter with the wolf, an officer shot at it but missed, and the wolf escaped again.
By Monday, trappers were able to catch and kill a wolf that matched the description of the solitary wolf that had attacked the teen during his sleep.
An examination of the wolf during a necropsy at the University of Minnesota showed that “the wolf’s bottom and top jaws did not align properly and it was missing at least one canine tooth.”
Officials believe that the wolf’s jaw deformity might have contributed to him being solitary and making such an unusual wolf attack since it was the first official attack by a wolf recorded in Minnesota.
Other witnesses at the campground in Minnesota told DNR officials that they had seen an animal biting through their tents at night and puncturing their air mattresses.
The “extremely rare” attack by a wolf in Minnesota might have been due to the wolf’s deformity, said Tom Provost. “The wolf’s jaw deformity is probably the reason it attacked the youth. While the male wolf was a normal 75 pounds, he said it would have had difficulty killing prey and likely was scavenging for food around the campground.”