Noah Graham was lying outside his tent at a camp ground in rural Minnesota early Saturday morning when he suddenly felt something on his head.
“[I had] just no sense at all that it was there until it was actually on my head,” Noah, 16, of Solway, Minn., said.
On Noah’s head was a gray wolf that had approached him from behind and bit him in the back of his head.
“I didn’t hear the wolf coming. I didn’t see it,” said Noah, who was camping with friends on Lake Winnibigoshish near Cass Lake.
By the time Noah realized what was happening, the wolf had part of his head in its mouth. Noah reached back and used his own hands to pull his head free from the wolf’s jaws, leaving him with a four-inch gash in his head and deep scratches.
“I thought for sure it was going to come back at me and that’s the scary part,” Noah said.
Noah’s girlfriend saw the attack and fled into her car. Two other members of their camping party slept through the attack, Noah told the Duluth News Tribune.
The wolf eventually ran away. A wolf matching the description of the animal that attacked Noah was later captured and killed by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s division of Wildlife Services.
Noah received a rabies shot and the wolf is being tested for rabies as well.
Officials say the wolf that was captured weighed 75 pounds and had an unusually shaped jaw that would make it hard for the animal to hunt, likely leading it to scrounge the campground for food.
Saturday’s attack was the first documented wolf attack ever in the state of Minnesota.
Noah says his record-making camping trip, despite the wolf attack, won’t be his last.
“I’ll probably go camping again,” he said. “I just won’t sleep outside my tent.”