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Minnesota Wolf Management

Scavenging or Attack?

Evidence of Scavenging

  • Sometimes, there won't be any blood visible around a dead animal, but there might be blood that has seeped out from inside the body, like from the nose.
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations on the animal's skin do not cause any bleeding on the inside or surrounding tissue.
  • When an animal's body is curled up with its legs tucked in, it can be a sign that the animal died from a non-predatory cause, such as disease or another condition.

Evidence of an Attack

  • Look for blood on the ground, which could show that the animal bled when it was attacked. You might also find blood stains spread around the dead animal, possibly indicating a struggle. Keep an eye out for a blood trail as well.
  • When an animal's hide has lacerations and puncture wounds, there will be signs of bleeding both on the outside and inside of the hide and tissue. These wounds may also cause blood to drain out.
  • The body may be contorted in an unnatural position.
Wolf Scavenge
This Deer was shot by a hunter and scavenged by wolves within hours.

Wolves chase their prey

During the attack, prey become vulnerable due to the relentless pursuit and loss of blood.

Wolves normally attack their prey from behind.

Animals frequently display bite marks, cuts, and missing or stripped tails on their hindquarters.

Wolves may attack other parts of the body.

Discovering bite marks on various parts of the body is an indicator of wolf activity. These marks can be observed on the nose, under and behind the front legs, as well as on the ears. Interestingly, when wolves target younger or smaller animals, their attack is often directed towards the animal's back.

Wolves use their teeth in an attack.

Biting leads to hemorrhaging, which is particularly visible internally within the hide and in the surrounding tissue.


Wolf Kill
Determining whether skeletal remains were caused by wolf predation or mere scavenging is a challenging task.
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