The Revenant – How do Wolves Hunt?


The Revenant – On Set

While on set filming for The Revenant, we thought it would be fun to write a short article about how wolves hunt for their prey.  It is known that wolves are excellent pack hunters.  The pack is strong when they coordinate their efforts and work together and this becomes clear when we study their hunting techniques.  A wolf pack on the hunt is tenacious and energetic.  Wolves work together to conquer their prey, often hunting animals much larger than a single wolf.  At Instinct, on the set of The Revenant, and on any set that we work on, we are able to train and work with our wolves because they are highly intelligent, cunning, and calculating; these same traits make them foreboding, fortuitous hunters.

Who Does the Work?

While many wolves may be seen on any given hunt, it is the most experienced wolves that do most of the work.  Many of the juvenile wolves in the pack will be on the sidelines, observing, learning from those wolves that have mastered the art of the hunt, so that they can one day do the same.  Wolves use their surroundings to their advantage, often times pushing larger animals into snow banks where they’ll sink and become mired down, while the lighter wolves are able to catch up to them for the kill.

Target the Weak

Wolves are opportunists.  They know that the larger animals they hunt can seriously maim or kill them with a swiftly well-placed kick.  That is one of the reasons that wolves hunt the weaker members of the herds that they stalk.  Killing the weakest members of the herd is logical.  They are easier to take down, and they are less likely to be able to injure the wolves.  Additionally, removing the weakest members of the herd creates a stronger herd, each generation.  This isn’t to say that wolves don’t attack the strong healthy herd animals.  When they sense an opportunity, they are likely to take it.

So, how well do wolves hunt?  The pack is an efficient killer, able to track down and target their prey effectively and work as a single unit to meet their objective.  A wolf by itself is a strong animal, but a wolf pack is a fierce team of able hunters, ready to work together to achieve what a lone wolf cannot.

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