Wolves On The Hunt: The Behavior Of Wolves Hunting Wild Prey

Hardcover | May 22, 2015

byL. David Mech, Douglas W. Smith, Daniel R. Macnulty

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The interactions between apex predators and their prey are some of the most awesome and meaningful in nature—displays of strength, endurance, and a deep coevolutionary history. And there is perhaps no apex predator more impressive and important in its hunting—or more infamous, more misjudged—than the wolf. Because of wolves’ habitat, speed, and general success at evading humans, researchers have faced great obstacles in studying their natural hunting behaviors. The first book to focus explicitly on wolf hunting of wild prey, Wolves on the Hunt seeks to fill these gaps in our knowledge and understanding.

Combining behavioral data, thousands of hours of original field observations, research in the literature, a wealth of illustrations, and—in the e-book edition and online—video segments from cinematographer Robert K. Landis, the authors create a compelling and complex picture of these hunters. The wolf is indeed an adept killer, able to take down prey much larger than itself. While adapted to hunt primarily hoofed animals, a wolf—or especially a pack of wolves—can kill individuals of just about any species. But even as wolves help drive the underlying rhythms of the ecosystems they inhabit, their evolutionary prowess comes at a cost: wolves spend one-third of their time hunting—the most time consuming of all wolf activities—and success at the hunt only comes through traveling long distances, persisting in the face of regular failure, detecting and taking advantage of deficiencies in the physical condition of individual prey, and through ceaseless trial and error, all while risking injury or death.  

By describing and analyzing the behaviors wolves use to hunt and kill various wild prey—including deer, moose, caribou, elk, Dall sheep, mountain goats, bison, musk oxen, arctic hares, beavers, and others—Wolves on the Hunt provides a revelatory portrait of one of nature’s greatest hunters.

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The interactions between apex predators and their prey are some of the most awesome and meaningful in nature—displays of strength, endurance, and a deep coevolutionary history. And there is perhaps no apex predator more impressive and important in its hunting—or more infamous, more misjudged—than the wolf. Because of wolves’ habitat, s...

L. David Mech is a senior research scientist with the US Geological Survey and an adjunct professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He is the author or editor of many books, including Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Cons...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 1.2 inPublished:May 22, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625514X

ISBN - 13:9780226255149

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Wolf as a Killing Machine
Chapter 1—White-Tailed Deer
Chapter 2—Moose
Chapter 3—Caribou
Chapter 4—Elk
Chapter 5—Mountain Sheep and Goats
Chapter 6—Bison
Chapter 7—Musk Oxen
Chapter 8—Miscellaneous Prey
Conclusion
Appendix: List of Scientific Names of Birds and Mammals Mentioned
Literature Cited
Index
A Note on Accompanying Videos by Robert K. Landis
Videos of wolf-prey interactions, by Robert K. Landis, are available to readers of the print book at the following URL and with these password credentials:
URL:                                              www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/wolves
User name:                                   wolves
Password:                                      hunt2015
Readers of the ebook will find the videos embedded in the text.

Editorial Reviews

“Very detailed. Never before has the predatory behavior of any carnivore been presented in such depth. Wolves on the Hunt is a contribution not just to our knowledge of the wolf but to our understanding of predation in general. The authors, experts in wolf predatory behavior who are in the best position to interpret these data from a scientific perspective, review a great amount of information and add an impressive number of accounts of hunting events observed by very few people. Their interpretations of the appropriate literature are clear and elegant. Very well written, easy to read both for specialists and for the general public interested in wolves and wildlife, Wolves on the Hunt is unique.”