It is truly incredible to watch a wolf run at top speed. And as rare as that is, seeing a wolf in full pursuit of prey is far rarer.
In fact, some naturalists work for years to get a purely wild encounter like this captured on film. But one Canadian gent was lucky enough to do so while driving down the highway after work.
“We were doing 60km/hr for a full 2 minutes. No idea how long they were running before we saw them,” recalls Dean Hutter of his remarkable footage. Within, Hutter’s capture shows a gray wolf in full sprint as it chases after a white-tailed deer. It’s a spectacular hunt that demonstrates the speed both animals are capable of.
For us Americans, that 60-kilometers-per-hour translates to around 37-miles-per-hour. This is where both gray wolves and white-tailed deer top out when it comes to speed, and it is wildly impressive to see it in action:
You can also catch the video on Dean’s YouTube channel here.
As a generalist, they gray wolf will hunt prey ranging from bite-sized squirrels and rabbits all the way up to the truly massive moose and bison. Deer rest in the middle as mid-sized prey, and are a simple target for a lone wolf – if they can be caught.
Wolves are not known for speed, but can break into a short burst of 38-miles-per-hour when the need arises. They can travel miles upon miles while trotting, but their bodies aren’t built for speed at long distances. A deer, however, very much is. Prey animals are built to run – and keep running – as to avoid being eaten. It is survival of the fittest at its most literal.
Is That a Wolf or Coyote?
Some viewers of Hutter’s footage think this may be a coyote and not a wolf at all, though. It is a common question, indeed, with “Is that a coyote or is that a wolf?” typically ringing out when either species is first sighted. And sometimes it’s an easy call, sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes, it’s an honest-to-god hybrid as these two closely-related canines can and do produce viable offspring with both each other and domestic dogs. But being able to tell a wolf from a and coyote is an incredibly useful skill for naturalists, hunters, and all outdoors-folk. It can even become a vital task for those living in areas these canines cohabitate.
Thankfully, the fantastic Voyageurs Wolf Project of the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem, MN, holds one of the best video’s I’ve seen that directly compares wolves to coyotes. Using their own footage of both species marking the same spot, Voyageurs highlights the sizable difference between the two species in their Wolf vs Coyote overlay.
Give it a watch, and you’ll see Dean Hutter’s sprinting canine for the wolf it is.