What would a dispersal wolf hunt before finding a mate?
Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:59 pm
Would a dispersal wolf hunt rodents and rabbits or elk?
WolfQuest Community Forum
https://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic. ... g#p2403950Koa wrote: ↑Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:47 pmI 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.(page 8 of Wolves: Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation)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).
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.(page 9 of Wolves: Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation). . .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).
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. ... 42#p601542CLBaileyi wrote: ↑Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:56 pmActually, 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.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.