Wolves are an iconic animal in The Long Dark and are found roaming throughout all of the regions. On higher difficulties, wolves are one of the most serious threats to a player. Listen for the sounds of howling, growling, and/or footsteps.


Wolves (not to be confused with timberwolves) are a common predatory animal found on Great Bear Island; they may be seen roaming alone or in packs of up to four. They hunt rabbits and deer and will attack the player on difficulties higher than Pilgrim.

Approaching or allowing a wolf to approach too close may lead to the wolf pouncing on the player, resulting in a struggle. A single wolf attack is typically not fatal, even if lost (except on Interloper difficulty or at low condition). However, the combination of the immediate condition loss plus blood loss, torn clothing, and/or infections can cause death shortly after the encounter.

Wolves can generally be avoided by giving them a wide berth; sneaking and avoiding carrying raw meat, uncured hides, or uncured guts also helps. Meat (raw or cooked), fresh guts and hides, and rabbit carcasses in the player's inventory may attract the attention wolves a fair distance away, so limiting the amount of meat (especially raw) and uncured hide or guts carried is crucial in areas populated with multiple wolves. Sneaking (crouched, ideally behind some cover and not up-wind) can help in some circumstances, as can throwing rocks to distract the animals.

The player can also hunt wolves for meat, hide, and guts, or to make areas temporarily safer. However, wolves are relatively scrawny, typically only possessing 4.0-6.0 kg of raw meat, which also carries the risk of intestinal parasites on Stalker and Interloper difficulty. Wolf hides, once cured, can be utilized to craft the very warm Wolfskin Coat.


Wolves are the most developed animals in The Long Dark. They have many paces for walking and running and varied behaviours. Typically they roam, keeping to invisibly designated areas. They are always hungry and looking for something to eat. However, they are scared of bears and moose and will run from them on sight.

As hunters

A wolf chasing a rabbit

Wolves will stalk all deer and rabbits they detect. The stalking is usually brief; just until the prey is in close range or starts to run. Sometimes they bark, seemingly to flush their prey, then chase it down. Wolves are faster than both deer and rabbit and will quickly overtake either. Wolves kill their quarry on contact, and immediately begin eating the carcass until it is "ravaged" (no meat present) and becomes un-harvestable.

Tracking the player is usually more drawn out unless the character is caught off-guard by terrain or structures. On sensing the player by sight, smell, or sound, a wolf will usually bark and run until they reach a distance of 30 meters.

Breaking the wolf's line of sight, keeping one's trackable scent low and running may help lose a stalking Wolf. Lighting a campfire, going indoors, taking shelter inside a vehicle, or climbing a felled tree or rock outcropping may also cause a wolf to lose interest or even flee, though the wolf might wait patiently outside for a while for its prey to return.

Joining the hunt

Wolves will bark when beginning to chase prey; a signal to nearby wolves that something tasty is near and to flush the victim. Any nearby Wolves who hear this will join the stalking Wolf in their chasing. The first Wolf to catch the prey eats it, as all others wander back to where the hunt first began.


Individual wolves may occasionally stop and let out a long howl at the sky. Other nearby wolves that hear this howl may stop and respond. This can be very useful to gauge how many wolves are in a particular area, and in which directions.


Sometimes wolves flee from the player, but usually they don’t, especially on the harder difficulties. Wolves typically start by stalking any player they detect. Only by getting far enough away to break both sight and smell cues can the player break the contact. Typically, stalking is done at a walking pace, following scent until sight is established then closing to standoff about 4 meters. They may run to catch up but will slow before reaching the player. Wolves will bark and growl before eventually deciding to attack with a charge at the player. This can be encouraged by approaching the wolf or postponed by backing away. If you prolong the stalking for long enough, the wolf may walk away, or alternatively charge. A wolf will immediately charge when a player aims a weapon (stones included) on one.

Aurora wolves

During an Aurora event at night all Wolves will glow green and act erratically: often barking almost constantly and running in circles. During this state, Wolves will be far more aggressive than normal, beginning to stalk or attack the player at much longer distances, and will not flee from Torches, Flares, Marine Flares, or being repelled by Campfires. Struggles are also much harder to win against Aurora Wolves, however, they are easily scared by artificial lighting brought to life by the Aurora, such as street lamps, car headlights, and the Flashlight's "high-power" mode. However Revolver and Hunting rifle gunshots can still spook them, and Distress pistol flare shells are still effective.

A wolf feeding on a rabbit

Defending kills

A wolf that has just killed a prey animal will immediately begin feeding. Feeding will likely continue until the entire carcass is consumed. While it is eating, its perception is reduced. However, if it does detect you approaching, it will assume a defensive stance and growl at the player, sometimes attacking the player immediately. A wolf may attack a player on Pilgrim difficulty if the player is close enough to a feeding wolf.


Any items that produce scent (any meat, Gut, quarters, etc.)  will distract a wolf as it will then choose to eat the bait rather than stalking the player, use this time to flee or kill the wolf. If a wolf detects a prey animal while it is stalking the player, it will sometimes shift its attention to the prey animal. While the wolf is walking to the bait, it will not engage the player unless they are close to the bait. This time may be used to take aim at the wolf for an easy kill with the survival bow or hunting rifle, because if the wolf is pursuing the bait, they are no longer stalking the player and taking aim will not cause them to charge. After taking the bait, they will walk away in whatever direction is opposite of the player.


Wolves are afraid of fire and will generally not cross over it, rather they will run or stand in place roughly 3 meters from it unable to move. This makes campfires, torches, and flares valuable wolf deterrents. While torches and flares offer a chance to stop a charge, wolves that have stopped their charge will continue stalking if the player moves away, or continue charging if the player moves towards them. After stopping their charge, wolves will sometimes run away from thrown torches and flares or a revolver being shot.

  • However, wolves during the aurora will NOT be deterred by flares or fires of any size. Players need to be very cautious when there is a wolf nearby when there is a clear night as an aurora could start at any moment and immediately override the wolves fear of fire. Since the wolf is usually standing ~3 meters away at the edge of the fire the player will have no time to react and be forced into a struggle with an aurora wolf (much stronger than normal wolves) that will most likely result in immediate death. For this reason, it is generally not recommended to sleep outside in an area where a lot of wolves are present.


Wolves will usually run away from the sound of the hunting rifle and the revolver being fired and an arrow being shot towards them, as long as it is not in a charging action. If a wolf is hit with a bullet and not killed outright it will flee. If the same wolf spots the player again while it is bleeding then the wolf will flee. It is not recommended to track the wolf as the trail can be lost if it snows or the wolf goes onto rocks/ice and instead to wait until the next day and look for crows circling overheard in the direction the wolf fled to in order to find the corpse.


Wolves sometimes will flee when the player throws stones at them. Stones can also be used to distract wolves. If thrown near wolves, they will temporarily change their paths toward the stone and investigate. After finding nothing, they will return to their previous task. This mechanic can be used to provide the player a bit of escape time, baiting a wolf away from the player. With enough stones, it also can be used to lure wolves, either away from its pack or toward a safer location for the kill, all from a safe distance.


Wolf attack.jpg

Approaching or allowing a Wolf to approach closer than 15 meters will cause it spread it's forelegs, flatten its ears and begin growling: if this distance is maintained without a frightening light source active for too long or infringed upon (even with a burning Flare), the Wolf begin to lunge, racing towards the player and pinning them to the ground on contact face-to-face in a Struggle. Wolves will also lunge if they are stalking a player, and the player begins to aim at them with the Revolver, Hunting Rifle, Distress Pistol, or Stone. During a Struggle fight back to cause Condition loss to the Wolf and a chance for it to flee based on its current Condition, while suffering periodic bites: damaging the player's Condition, possibly tearing their clothing or causing Blood loss. If the player fails to scare off the Wolf within several seconds and is not killed, they will faint and awake moments later to the Wolf walking away. It is common to survive a wolf attack particularly at high Condition and on lower Difficulties, suggesting Wolves attack the player out of territorial aggression and not hunger.

  • Since wolves require physical contact to injure the player, attacks can be escaped using terrain blocking, doors, and game path-finding errors to avoid the possibility of the wolf touching the character.
    • Standing halfway down a ledge or crouched under a terrain object makes one immune to wolf attack.
    • Firetrap behavior explained above (Interaction) will shield from charging wolves. Using time acceleration activities will release the wolf from a firetrap created using a torch or flare.
    • Some random items from the player's inventory will be thrown on the ground if the character blacked out. If a ranged weapon was equipped when attacked, it will be found on the ground, too.


When a wolf pounces, the player is presented with options for defense, which depend on the tools the player has in the inventory. The possible weapons are listed here in order of decreasing effectiveness.[1]

  1. Revolver
  2. Hatchet
  3. Hunting knife
  4. Heavy hammer
  5. Prybar
  6. Unarmed

Using the hunting knife, improvised knife, or hatchet causes bleeding to the wolf, making it eventually bleed to death.


Getting into a struggle is not advised. However, sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are some tips to make your struggles more successful:

  • Fill the struggle bar and end the struggle, the wolf runs away. Filling the struggle bar requires rhythmic clicking, not clicking as fast as possible.[2]
  • Be well-rested. An empty fatigue bar will limit how much you can fight back (fill the struggle bar).
  • Bring a weapon. Bare hands will not cause much damage and will not cause bleeding.
  • Be prepared for blood. Have multiple bandages on hand and access to antiseptic.
  • You may wish to remove clothing prior to struggle to prevent it being damaged.
  • Some clothes offer better protection than others, and will reduce the amount of condition lost during a struggle.[3]


A wolf can be taken down with a single shot in the head. Instant death in other parts of the body is a function of scoring a “critical hit”. If the wolf runs, track it until they fall. Wolves only run a short distance when wounded then walk slowly and are fairly easy to keep track of. Death from bleeding is certain; only shoot again if you are in a hurry. Don’t pester a dying wolf, it may charge.

Wolves may also be killed by hand since they are usually eager to attack in the higher difficulty settings. This is not advised, since the character will most certainly be injured in the struggle. Know that damage is done as the struggle bar is filled and the more damage you do, the more likely the wolf will die in your hands and possibly the quicker the wolf will bleed out if it runs away.

  • Wolves only bleed onto the ground when they are fleeing. When they charge or go back to their casual walk, blood will not appear on the ground. They are however still bleeding and will eventually die. Blood drops will again appear if the wolf is encouraged to run away (gunshot, throw a lit flare at it, close missed shot with an arrow).

Critical hits

Critical hits are random occurrences, but are more likely in designated critical areas. Wolves seem to have four areas, the head and neck, the front shoulder and chest, the hindquarters, and their feet. Shots to the head and neck seem to always cause a critical hit (100%), with shots to the front shoulder and chest being second (still 100% for rifle, only 30% for bow). Shots to the feet seem to be immune to critical hits. Critical hits may also apply in struggles but cannot be predicted.

  • Often a critically shot wolf will simultaneously realize there is a human present, be scared of a rifle shot, and die. All of the respondent sounds play back-to-back, but the wolf visually is already lying dead. This can be confusing and alarming when first heard.

Bleeding wounds

All shots cause bleeding wounds as do struggles where the player was armed. Wolves will bleed out according to which area they were shot in. Bleeding wounds do not stack. That is, multiple shots to the same area will not make it bleed out any faster. Shooting a wolf in an area that bleeds faster than a previous wound will cause it to bleed out as if the faster wound were caused first.

Time to bleed out

Zone Hit w/ Rifle w/ Bow
Head Instant Instant
Chest Instant 40 min
Hind 1 hr 45 min
Foot 2 hr 1 hr


  • The simplest strategy for killing a wolf is to shoot it in the head with a ranged weapon. This is made easier by first distracting the wolf so it will stand still for a clean shot. Many distractions are possible:
    • Baiting: drop food in the path of approaching wolf. Wolf pauses to eat food. Shoot.
    • Firetrap: while the wolf is trapped by a fire, line up a clean shot. Dropping a lit torch while the wolf is following you is the simplest form of this.
    • Hunt the hunter: Use prey animals. By encouraging a wolf to attack another animal, it should be simple to line up for a good shot while the wolf is feeding on its fresh kill. Retrieve two freshly killed animals with only one shot. Just don’t get too close.
    • Ambush: Use crouch to sneak into the path of an approaching wolf. Shoot before it detects you.
  • Wolves may also be taken on by hand. This is harder and will certainly damage the character. See Struggles (above).


A fresh carcass contains between 3.0 and 6.0 kg of raw meat, as well as two fresh guts and one wolf pelt. Carcasses will slowly freeze, increasing the time needed for the player to harvest its contents. Meat left on the carcass decays quickly regardless of the carcass freezing. Starting a fire near a frozen carcass will thaw it.

Special wolves

A few special wolves have been affectionately named by the community due to the unique nature of encounters with them in specific places. Special wolves are special only in where they are found; they are not stronger, larger, or more difficult to kill than any other wolves.

  • Special wolves will not respawn once killed.
  • Special wolves do not appear in Pilgrim difficulty games and will not appear during the first 12 hours of Voyageur games either (dictated by the Grace Period setting).


Fluffy in the story mode

'Fluffy' lived in the upper part of Carter Hydro Dam. Initially, players reported her as a bug due to her unexpected location. Fluffy was not mentioned in the changelog when she was added to the game (somewhere between 0.124 and 0.127), but after being named by the community, her name stuck and she was officially mentioned in the changelog for 0.127.

She was the first and for a long time only wolf to be encountered indoors. Apparently she gained access to the dam through a broken window.

Fluffy was removed from the dam in the story mode release. The game's developers decided to move her because the wolf A.I was unable to recognize the pathfinding system in the new Dam interior.[4]

In the story mode, Fluffy is found dead in the hallways of the dam, likely an easter egg for the players who were well acquainted with encountering her there.

It has been speculated that the wolf found in one of the Ice Caves of Hushed River Valley could also be Fluffy, but how she came to be there was unknown. However, that speculation was contradicted with the November 2019's developer diary, stating that Fluffy was coming back.

As of Errant Pilgrim update, Fluffy resides in Last Resort Cannery where the Ammunition bench is.


'Scruffy' lives in a moderately sized cave in Desolation Point. Scruffy also has a previous victim, dead on or at the bottom of a ledge inside the cave.

Demon Wolf

The Demon Wolf is a Halloween seasonal version of the regular wolf, which only occurs during the 4 Days of Night. It has a distinct red gaze in its eyes, but other than that, it behaves like its regular counterpart. If the player has the 'Wildlife Deterring Effect' gained by eating pumpkin pie the wolf will be scared off in the same manner as on Pilgrim. When the wolf dies the eyes lose their red tint and it becomes indistinguishable from a regular wolf.



  • The Wolf model underwent several changes during the Early Access period.


Fish Smallmouth bassCoho salmonLake whitefishRainbow trout
Animals BearCrowDeerMooseRabbitTimberwolfWolf
Interactions FishingTrappingBaitingHuntingStruggle
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