A wolf can run up to 45 miles per hour and yet is still only successful in one out of every ten attempts to hunt and kill larger prey. However, when they are successful they usually only hunt once a week as this is usually sufficient food for a pack. On the occasion that they are not so successful they hunt smaller prey such as rabbits and mice. Due to the fact that wolves do hunt larger prey man sees him as a threat to the population of the deer and moose and to the farm animals; although this is not true. The wolf usually kills the weak or sick prey that lags behind; this in turn helps the population as the weak and sick are killed off therefor not spreading the poor strain to the rest of their species.
The wolf is considered to be extinct in 47 of the 48 lower states in the United States and therefor are protected under the extinction laws; even so there have still been many killed by illegal hunters. Many were also lost to the parvovirus which has also befallen onto the domesticated dog. In Canada and Alaska hunting wolves is still legal due to the fact that many groups of them travel through these areas. I must add though that their reasons for legalizing wolf hunting is not so noble as will be discussed below in the section "Man And Wolf".
The wolve's body language is very much similar to that of the dogs. Most of us have become accustomed to reading our dogs through the way that they hold themselves, move their tails or the positioning of their ears; well the wolf is the same. A wolf that is considered the boss "alpha" will always hold his tail erect and proudly as he reins over the others. The others in the wolf pack will usually hold their tails in a downward position and even more so when approaching the alpha. A wolf in leadership will also hold his ears up with a slight forward appearance as the lower ranks will hold their ears laying towards the back of their heads.
The alpha male and female are usually the only wolves that are allowed to breed within the pack. After the pups are born the whole pack will contribute to their rearing, and at approximately 4 months old the pup goes along on the hunts to learn hunting skills. Until the pups are old enough to go along a lower ranking wolf is initiated to babysit and the others go on the hunt bringing food back for the pups and the sitter.
A lower ranking wolf may challenge his leader for leadership if he feels that he is worthy of the challenge; the loser may leave the pack in disgrace after the battle; hence comes the term the "lone wolf". He may travel many miles before finding a single female and beginning a new pack.
In the early 1600's the government declared war upon the wolves and paid a bounty for the furs. Due to this the wolves endured a great slaughter; they were hunted down and the luckier ones were shot; as there were many that were tortured cruely by their human captors; and yet they were viewed as evil and vicious. In this aspect it is noted that the wolf hunts and kills because it has no choice if it is to survive.
As mentioned earlier wolves our protected from hunters in 47 of the 48 lower states as they are considered extinct or in danger of being so. Yet in Canada and Alaska they are still legal to hunt. The reason for this being is that Canada and Alaska bring in millions of dollars into their economy through Big Game Hunting and the wolf unfortunately is viewed as competition for the larger prey. There has never been any documented evidence of this; although wolves do hunt the larger prey such as deer or moose usually one kill per week is sufficient. In my opinion this in no way is competition to the human hunters. Another thing that makes wolf hunting favorable to the humans is they still pay a bounty in some places on the fur; as wolf fur is used to make coats, and rugs.
My fear for the wolves is where they are not extinct in time they will be. This mark on the wolves has also effected the dog that resembles their beautiful fur; the Siberian Husky. I knew of a breeder of the Siberian who said she lost 50 or more dogs that had been skinned and their bodies dumped on the side of the road in a garbage bag. Obviously someone wanted their furs for bounty. When I hear of this and the slaughter of the wolves I have to ask "Who are the real vicious creatures to be feared?"