Have Wolves Returned to New Hampshire?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty, Waterville Valley, NH

Wolves in New Hampshire?

A couple of weeks ago as I was driving home from work at night an animal ran out of the forest and across the road in front of my car.  I saw it clear as day.  It was a wolf...or, at least it looked like the wolves I've seen on TV and in movies.  I told my husband about it, but he said I probably saw a coy dog, not a wolf.  Well, I've seen coy dogs before and this was definitely NOT an eastern coyote.  And its appearance was wild and not domesticated.

Being an obsessive Googler, I searched online for photos of wolves (yup, the animal I Gray wolf - photo from Google Imagessaw looked just like the gray wolves I found in the Google images - example at right), but the news articles I found online indicated that there have been no confirmed sightings or killings of wild wolves in New Hampshire in many, many years.

I didn't tell anyone else but my husband about my wolf sighting because I didn't want people to start thinking of me as the next Big Foot-type lunatic!

This morning my officemate, Debbie Duffy, arrived at work and excitedly told me that she'd just seen a wolf run across Rt. 49 (the state highway that connects Waterville Valley to the rest of the world).  She, too, Googled wolf photos online and confirmed that, indeed, the animal she saw was a gray wolf.

I was so excited to hear about her sighting and described the animal I had seen to her.  "Yes," she exclaimed, "that sounds just like what I saw." 

Hmmmm...is it possible that wolves have returned to New Hampshire? 

There is a deep cultural fear of wolves.  Think "Little Red Riding Hood." 

According to information I found online, the gray wolf has been persecuted by man for centuries.  In New England the gray wolf was hunted to extinction by the mid 1800s. 

In October of 2007, a wolf was shot in a rural area of northern Massachusetts. The animal had been reported to state biologists after a rash of sheep killings on a farm in the area. The day after biologists investigated, the animal was shot by someone other than the farmer. The biologists would not name the guilty party but stomach contents of the animal confirmed that it was predating on sheep.

It was originally assumed that the animal was an escaped wolf but this has proven not to be the case. Biologists and conservationists have long thought that the recovering eastern Canadian population of gray wolves was likely to move south into the areas of northern New England and upstate New York where appropriate habitat exists. It appears that they were right.

According to my research, young male wolves often separate from the pack over the summer and fall to hunt independently.  I wonder if that's why Debbie and I saw a lone wolf. 

Eric Orff, a Certified Wildlife Biologist, said that New Hampshire, with land that is 90 percent wooded (and Waterville Valley is completely surrounded by the 770,000-acre White Mountain National Forest) and thriving populations of moose, deer and beaver -- prime wolf foods -- has many of the right habitat ingredients to support a wolf population. Within the next few decades, we may see wolves return to New Hampshire on their own.

Cheers!  Jan

 Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty

1-888-987-8333

Waterville Valley Realty

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New Hampshire Grafton County Waterville Valley
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wolves
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Anonymous
Big O'

Ya know, makes me sad...if we could just put our iPhone, lap tops, video games, iPad, note books, cell phones, face book, twitter, com-cast, and any other gadget I left out down for just a moment, I think that would be the greatest sighting yet!!! I read all the posts, great stuff..but a common theme seems to be disbelief..and we have to reference this doubt..Is the area of interest the fact that there are wild things among us..or the doubt in our minds as to what we may have seen?..all that comes to mind is wake up!!! wake from your sleep people..wake up..He is there..and he is watching your every move, growing stronger and smarter, becoming bolder..2nd common theme here from these posts..is the look back..or the moment of pause as the animal looks at you or turns back for a moment, before running off..remember back to that exact moment and what did you feel in that second that felt like an hour? fear, small, confused, angry, sad, shocked,..why did he stop to gaze back? he doesn't have to work, or text billy, or bring the kids to school, or stress out about paying the electric bill on time or the mortgage, or call the cell phone company because you didn't get the app you just down loaded..why did he look back? was he taking that same mental image at the same exact time you were? did he really run away after that? or just out of your site?..living, breathing, seeing, believing is the privilege he gave to you in that one look...wake up my friends wake up from your sleep.................................Will finish on this final thought..I was young graduate student from New England, at the University OF Hawaii finishing my time abroad..Decided to catch some local surf action after class with my roommate at the time..we paddled out to the waves got in line with a few local men to wait our turn to catch a wave..When a tiger shark the size of a Cadillac surfaced and bit my roommates arm in half..was one of the most craziest things I have ever witnessed in my life..we saved my friend..and his arm that day..as I was on the beach I found myself talking out loud saying "how could this of happened" and an old local man that had seen the whole thing turned to me in a soft voice and said.."just because you didn't see the shark doesn't mean he isn't there"

May 04, 2012 09:46 PM #58
Anonymous
M
I've seen two grey wolves (I'm fairly sure) in southern NH. One was 10 yrs ago in Spofford, NH. The other was ~ a month ago in Westmoreland, NH. It ran across the road a distance ahead of me, I slowed down to see if I could see it in the field and did, it was standing there looking at my car from the field, fairly close. I got a very good look at it. I do think if wolves make it down here, they tend to be lost from the pack. I don't think there has been any pack sightings.
May 29, 2012 08:46 PM #59
Rainer
73,601
Jan Stearns
Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty, Waterville Valley, NH - Waterville Valley, NH
Marketing Dir. 1-888-987-8333

Hi Big O' & M!  Thank you both for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and stories. 

I haven't heard of any pack sightings - just lone wolves, which based on what I've read is rather typical of a male wolf. 

I just received an email from someone who recently saw a wolf in East Haverhill, NH...so the sightings continue throughout the state.

Wish someone could get some scat and/or fur that they could do DNA tests on.

Cheers everyone,

Jan

May 30, 2012 06:27 AM #60
Anonymous
E

Since there ARE wolves in Eastern Canada, why wouldn't they come down into Northern New England? I doubt they care about international borders!

Jul 19, 2012 06:42 PM #61
Rainer
73,601
Jan Stearns
Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty, Waterville Valley, NH - Waterville Valley, NH
Marketing Dir. 1-888-987-8333

LOL, so true!  Sort of like the "Moose Crossing" signs - moose aren't confined to just those crossings!  I was driving a South African friend to the mall some years back.  She asked me how the moose know to stay in the "Moose Crossing" zones!

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Jul 20, 2012 05:56 AM #62
Rainer
73,601
Jan Stearns
Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty, Waterville Valley, NH - Waterville Valley, NH
Marketing Dir. 1-888-987-8333

Message for Sandy Glencross (#26 & #27 above) ... if you see this message would you please email me?  A man has just emailed me today after reading your comment and expressed interest in learning more about the photo you have of a mountain lion in Strafford - and details about exactly where you saw (or photographed) the mountain lion.

Please email me at wci@wvnh.com or give me a call at 603-236-3333.

Thanks, Sandy!

Jan

Aug 03, 2012 03:20 PM #63
Anonymous
Donna

We saw a wolf in Hollis, NH this week.  As the others have stated above, we know the difference between a coyote and a wolf, and this definitely looked exactly like the picture above.  While it shocked us at first, it made you feel like  you had a unique experience, something like seeing Santa Claus: you know he doesn't really exist, but then there he is before your very eyes.  Donna

Nov 25, 2012 06:52 AM #64
Anonymous
Roxanna Jones

 My husband and I were traveling from Littleton toward Whitefield (Technically Bethlehem) and we saw a wolf run across the road in front of our car.  He was huge.  Never seen one before.  I have seen coyotes before this was not that and it was not a dog - it was a wolf.

 

Nov 05, 2013 04:35 PM #65
Anonymous
Anonymous
A friend of my gf's daughter had his car break down recently on Corrigan Hill near Lancaster, NH and was walking up the hill to his house when he believes he was tracked by a wolf through the woods nearby. He was fairly upset and posted about it on FB.
Feb 03, 2014 07:04 PM #66
Anonymous
M. Smith

I live in Claremont, NH. My husband and I have been hearing a wolf howl in our backyard, and a couple of hens from the area are missing. Everyone thinks we are crazy but, we are 100% it was a wolf.

Oct 16, 2014 11:09 PM #67
Anonymous
jennifer

i a m pretty sure i saw a wolf crossing Route 16 near Jackson NH this morning around 8:15.

Nov 22, 2014 03:21 PM #68
Anonymous
Shawn

I have a friend who thinks he has seen a wolf in Rye, nh. His wife thinks he is delusional but he seemed convinced! This is March 2015.

Mar 27, 2015 07:16 AM #69
Anonymous
Backpacker

My sister is hiking the AT right now through the white mountains in new hampshire and had several wolves howling within her vicinity on the ridge before she reached Pinkham Notch. Shook her up.

Jun 19, 2015 06:01 PM #70
Anonymous
Jen

My husband and I just saw a wolf in Kingston, NH yesterday! Very large animal!9/18/15

Sep 18, 2015 03:55 AM #71
Anonymous
Adam

Just got back from camping at Pawtuckaway State Park and my girlfriend and I heard a wolf howling all night long deep within the forest. No bird will make that sound and we know a coyotes calling. It was such a beautiful howl and so loud. I tried to record it the second night because it was so amazing but slept through the night.

Sep 27, 2015 08:47 PM #72
Anonymous
Adam

Oh and to add, it was quite sad to hear the wolf howl so long and so loud because after awhile it sounded as if it were a distress call. Which makes sense if in NH a wolf would be solo and away from its pack. That's why I was in disbelief at first due to the fact that I know they are pack animals. It seemed as if there was only one, maybe two after calling back and forth. Pretty amazing to hear as long as not outside our tent. Lol.

Sep 27, 2015 08:53 PM #73
Anonymous
Paul

Saw a lone wolf caught in my headlights as I came home last night after midnight, as I came down my diveway across my open field by the river in Exeter NH. He was a bit confused but not panicky, went one way, then the other as my headlights went to bright and followed him, before loping away.

Nov 09, 2015 05:00 AM #74
Anonymous
Bill Garvey

Saw what looked like a wolf in Londonderry not long ago. 1am crossed in front of my truck,stopped and we stared each other down for about 15 seconds at about 30 ft under a streetlight. Got a real good look

Jan 02, 2016 07:30 PM #75
Anonymous
Paula Green

I live in Nottingham and just this past Thursday about 5pm or so my son who is in his 30's was sitting in his living room which has a view of our very wooded yard. When a very large animal came walking out of the woods and across our property. Yes with out a doubt a wolf. I have been reading a lot of articles about them repopulating the area and I am a firm believer they r truly here and we need to respect them.

Jan 09, 2016 08:35 AM #76
Anonymous
P. Jacques

I live in Raymond and go to work for 1am. On my way in on Rt 27 on the Raymond/E. Candia line a wolf ran across the road. I had my high beams on as there was no traffic out at that time, it was way to big to be a coyote. Shepperd looking but bigger, and looking like the one in the picture above. The only one I have told is my wife, because everyone else will think I'm nuts. I need to get a dash cam, but the chance of this happening again are slim to none....

Jan 30, 2016 03:51 PM #77
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