Watch: Rare footage captures a day in the life of a wild wolf

Originally Published: 
Voyageurs Wolf Project

Voyageurs Wolf Project

While wolves are best known for hunting in packs, they tend to be a lot more solitary in the summer.

The canines will spend long days on their own, scavenging and hunting smaller prey.

It’s also tougher to track wolves during this time of year, thanks to dense vegetation and the fact that they don’t leave many remains from their kills.

John Morrison/E+/Getty Images

Voyageurs Wolf Project

That leaves a big question unanswered: What do wolves do all day in the summer?

To find out, researchers in Minnesota set out to track a day in the life of a lone wolf living in the northern part of the state for the Voyageurs Wolf Project.

Last week, they published a video that captured 14 hours of a wild wolf’s wanderings during a hot day in June from a camera hanging around the animal’s neck.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

Voyageurs Wolf Project

“In densely forested environments, like northern Minnesota, it is impossible to watch or observe a wolf going about its life like this during the summer,” explains Voyageurs project lead Thomas Gable. “Typically, when you see a wolf it is for a fleeting second as it runs across a road or trail.”

Voyageurs Wolf Project

In many ways, the wolf’s day was quite predictable.

It did a lot of walking, spent hours resting in the shade, and even killed a fawn. But to Gable’s knowledge, it’s the first time an ordinary wolf’s day has been captured in first-person.


“The novelty in this video is being able to observe these behaviors, especially from the wolf’s perspective.”

Thomas Gable, to Inverse

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images ROOTS RF collection/Getty Images

Here are 12 notable moments in the wolf’s day:

12. The wolf started its day on the go, trotting through long grasses at 6:45 a.m.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

11. The wolf quickly entered a forest. It picked up the pace around 7:30 a.m., running rapidly over brush and roots.

10. Gotta stay fresh!

Around 8:20 a.m., the wolf paused for some light grooming. There’s no shortage of ticks, mosquitoes, and flies in northern Minnesota, which are common pests for wolves (and humans).

9. Just 15 minutes later, the wolf dug a hole in the dirt and promptly abandoned it.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

8. Shake!

After trotting through a wetland, the wolf vigorously dried off its coat.

7. Over the course of its day, the wolf traversed many different terrains. Here it is crossing a wide, open field.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

6. At 10:40 a.m., the wolf sat to groom itself. Then, instead of immediately getting back to its trek, it rested for about an hour and a half.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

5. The wolf took a lot more breaks in the afternoon than in the morning.

In between periods of rest, it did a few sporadic things such as scratching at the camera around its neck.

4. A sip of water is nice on a hot summer afternoon, isn’t it?

Voyageurs Wolf Project


Around 7:30 p.m., the wolf’s day took an exciting turn when it killed and ate a deer.

Warning: Videos on these next two slides are a bit gory, so skip over them if you’re squeamish!

3. Though the camera missed the wolf actively killing the fawn, it captured the moments after as the predator consumed its prey.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

2. Here, the wolf can be seen chewing on the detached leg of the fawn, similar to the way a dog would chew on a toy bone.

Voyageurs Wolf Project

1. Around 9:00 p.m., the wolf sat down to rest one last time before sunset.

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