HOWL Colorado

Seasons of the wolf

Though wolves are at the top of their food chain, their survival from Day 1 is a life-and-death struggle — as it is for all wildlife. Here’s a snapshot of their lives:


As fall and Minnesota’s first wolf hunt approach, wolves and wolf pups have been living a relatively charmed life. They’ve been feeding primarily on easy prey: deer fawns born last spring, and some newborn calves and sheep. But food soon will be harder to get.

Pups born last spring now are about 40 pounds, and their puppy teeth have been replaced by the real deal, including 1-inch fangs. By late fall, pups might weigh 50 to 60 pounds and will travel and hunt with the adults, usually in packs of five to six. During summer, the packs weren’t as mobile when the pups were young — the adults stayed near the dens or “rendezvous sites,” feeding the pups. Soon they’ll begin hunting throughout their territory, about 40 square miles per pack.

The shorter fall days trigger the wolves’ fur to grow thick to help them weather winter. By mid-November they’ll have their full winter coat.

This fall, wolves will face one more obstacle to survival: man…

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