What would a dispersal wolf hunt before finding a mate?

Post wolf-related questions and we'll try our best to find the answers.

Moderators: Isela, Koa

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 262
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:59 pm
Gender: Male
Location: My room

What would a dispersal wolf hunt before finding a mate?

Post by elkhunter123456 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:59 pm

Would a dispersal wolf hunt rodents and rabbits or elk?
Im done posting for now. there are not enough topics to post on :cry:

User avatar
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:11 am

Re: What would a dispersal wolf hunt before finding a mate?

Post by Dinoman9877 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:46 am

The behavior of social predators tends to vary depending on how many of their group are around, including when hunting. They tend to avoid larger prey without backup so as to not waste energy or risk injury.

Wolves can vary just as much. Dispersing wolves, as the devblogs for the game have mentioned, aren't always necessarily alone, and these grouped up siblings have a wider variety of prey available to them over a lone wolf, such as the one the player will be playing.

This doesn't mean a lone wolf can't hunt large prey, and in fact it has been documented on multiple occasions, but they will look for the weakest prey they can get.

It also depends on when the wolves decide to disperse and the availability of prey in the area. Wolves that disperse in spring or summer will have more food available to them than those that disperse in fall or winter, simply due to the abundance of smaller prey animals, but also because elk reproduce in the summer, but in winter there are young bison that can be exploited too.

There's no real solid answer because it depends on the individual wolf's hunting ability, the amount of wolves dispersing together, and the time of year they do it in.

User avatar
WolfQuest Moderator
WolfQuest Moderator
Posts: 12882
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:53 pm
Gender: Female

Re: What would a dispersal wolf hunt before finding a mate?

Post by Koa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:17 am

I will answer your question as if you are referring to one dispersal and consequently a "lone" wolf:
Koa wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:47 pm
I do not think it is fair to prescribe a "specific number" of wolves in relation to the potential for success. Consider that the "number" may also be dependent upon the hunting wolves' conditions. And, wolves are capable of taking large game down by themselves, though this is by no means an easy task.
If large numbers of wolves were necessary to prey on large ungulates, it would be difficult for lone wolves and pairs to survive and produce the offspring that enlarge the pack. In fact, large numbers of wolves are not necessary to kill large prey. Single wolves have been recorded to kill even the largest of the wolf's major prey species, including adult moose (Cowan 1947; A. Bjarvall and E. Isakson, personal communication; Thurber and Peterson 1993; Mech et. all 1998), muskox (Gray 1970), and bison (D. Dragon, cited in Carbyn et al. 1993).
(page 8 of Wolves: Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation)
See also: http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f ... f#p1751860

To put things into perspective, a larger hunting party does not always equal that more food will be secured.
. . .lone wolves in Minnesota killed more prey per wolf than a pack of five (Mech 1971a), and pairs killed more prey per wolf than packs (Fritts and Nech 1981; Ballard et al. 1987, 1997; Thurber and Peterson 1993; Hayes et al. 2000).
When this hypothesis was tested more rigorously with wolves and moose on Isle Royale, the result was the same: the larger the pack, the less food obtained per wolf (fig 1.1). Synthesizing data from many studies including most wolf prey gave the same result (Schmidt and Mech 1997).
(page 9 of Wolves: Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation)

With all of that being said, I hope you understand now why a specific number cannot be prescribed in a true sense.

[Side note: Lone wolves will also more frequently have to try for food, as they do not experience the luxuries (e.g. food security) of pack life. So, packs are not useless; they do provide a legitimate advantage. See (from page 10):
If wolf pack size is related to food source size, but increased pack size does not necessarily yield greater hunting efficiency, then why live in packs? The answer seems to be that the evolution of grouping in wolves has facilitated subsidy of young wolves by their parents through the sharing of large prey (Mech 1970, 1991b; Schmidt and Mech 1997). Since adults prey on large animals, a surplus of food suddenly becomes available periodically. Making this surplus available to kin is the most efficient approach adult wolves can take, except for eating it and caching it. Without a sufficient number of feeders, this surplus can be lost to competitors, scavengers, insects, and bacteria. Ravens can remove up to 37kg (17 pounds) of a carcass per day, and can usurp some 66% of a lone wolf's kill, compared with onlu 10% of the kills of a pack of ten (Promberger 1993; see also Stahler 2000).
https://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic. ... g#p2403950

Dinoman9877 brings up a good point, though-- a dispersal wolf may not always disperse alone and may even disperse in sibling groups. The most common time for wolves to disperse is fall, winter, and early spring, but wolf dispersal can occur at any time of the year.
At the same time, keep in mind the following (in terms of prey availability and the common misconceptions about prey availability/choice of prey to hunt between the spring/summer and winter seasons):
CLBaileyi wrote:
Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:56 pm
Snowmuzzle wrote:It also depends how hungry they are. For example, in summer there may be enough hares and young fawns to feed the wolves without much larger prey. In the winter, however, they are more desperate so will take more risks to get food, like hunting bison.
Actually, wolves kill a variety of prey throughout the year (i.e. they will eat elk/bison throughout the year) and not just in winter. Also, they are not "desparate" for food to go after bison. There are also plenty of large prey available in the spring and summer and wolves, along with other predators, take adult elk and the like. It also has nothing to do with "how hungry" they are in the summer vs. winter. There are alot of articles written about wolves and prey in the journals on line-you might find more specific information there. Also, the IWC has a great section on their website about wolves and prey. I highly recommend it.
https://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic. ... 42#p601542

Post Reply

Return to “Wolf Q&A”