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A Record Large Wolf, Canis lupus, Pack in Minnesota


Wolf (Canis lupus) pack sizes are of interest for several reasons. One is because of the possible relationship between pack size and prey size; packs preying on Moose (Alces alces), for example, are often much larger than those feeding primarily on White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (Mech 1970). Second, documenting extremes is useful to a full understanding of a species' basic life history. Third, as Wolf populations, which have been legally protected since 1974 in the contiguous 48 states, recover in new areas inhabited by humans, the potential sizes of their packs is of importance to resource managers seeking to minimize conflicts with humans. Wolves in Minnesota feed mostly on deer, and average pack sizes are relatively small (Mech and Frenzel 1971; Van Ballenberghe et al. 1975; Fritts and Mech 1981; Mech 1986; Fuller 1989). This note documents a record-sized pack.
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