From a Q & A with Gordon Grice, author of The Book of Deadly Animals:
About this new Liam Neeson movie: Do wolves really hunt you down with Terminator-like resolve if you invade their territory?Gordon Grice has written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Discover, and Granta. His first book, The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators, won a Whiting Writers' Award and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Los Angeles Times.
Not so much.
When do they attack people?
In rural areas of Europe and Asia, they sometimes eat the guy left behind to tend the sheep. Also, when a lot of people are lying around dead or helpless, from war or plague, wolves clean the place up. If a wolf gets rabies, it will attack everything in its path. One rabid wolf killed fifteen people and bit dozens of others in a single rampage.
Do they ever make a habit of eating people?
Yes. In central France in the 1760s, something called The Beast of Gevaudan killed at least five dozen people, mostly farm workers and travelers. The case was so famous (and so preposterously exaggerated) that it drew the attention of King Louis XV. “No one dared go out any more after nightfall,” wrote Guy de Maupassant in his thinly fictionalized account. “The darkness seemed haunted by the image of the beast.” Similar cases have happened in India.
Why don’t they usually eat people in North America?
Also see: The Page 99 Test: Jay M. Smith's Monsters of the Gévaudan.