Minn. teen describes fighting off rare wolf attack

BEMIDJI, Minn. — A 16-year-old who fought off a rare apparent wolf attack in northern Minnesota says he won’t be sleeping outside anytime soon.

Noah Graham, of Solway, was camping on Lake Winnibigoshish with five friends last weekend. He told The Pioneer (http://bit.ly/16JUDo4 ) he was talking with his girlfriend just before the animal chomped the back of his head early Saturday.

Department of Natural Resources officials think it’s the first documented serious-injury wolf attack on a human in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, the DNR was waiting for DNA test results to confirm whether a wolf trapped and killed in the same campground early Monday is the animal that attacked Graham, and for results on whether it had rabies.

Despite a 4-inch gash on his scalp, 17 staples to close the wound and “the worst pain of his life,” Graham didn’t seem fazed Monday by his encounter, nor the needle that delivered a rabies shot following the attack.

“I had to reach behind me and jerk my head out of its mouth,” Graham recalled. “After I got up, I was kicking at it and screaming at it and it wouldn’t leave. But then after a while I got it to run away.”

The wolf killed Monday had a jaw deformity that prevented its upper and lower teeth from lining up and likely had to scavenge because it wouldn’t have been able to kill large prey, said Tom Provost, regional manager for the DNR’s enforcement division in Grand Rapids.

Graham said the attack came without warning.

“There was no sound at all. Didn’t hear it. It was just all of a sudden there,” he said.

Graham’s girlfriend fled to her Jeep, while two other members of the camping party slept through all the screaming, kicking and fighting, he said.

He said he called home after the attack and his father told him to call 911.

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