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Keep your distance whenever possible. A Wolf struggle could be the end of your journey.
In-game description

Wolves are iconic wildlife in The Long Dark. In Survival mode and in Wintermute wolves are a primary threat to survival on Great Bear Island, and can be found roaming all major regions.


Wolves (not to be confused with timberwolves) are a common predatory animal found on Great Bear Island; they may appear alone or in packs of up to four. They hunt rabbit and deer, attack the player (except on Pilgrim), and flee from bear and moose.

At close distances wolves will chase and attack the player, resulting in a struggle. A single wolf attack is typically not fatal, even if lost (except on Interloper); however the condition loss, blood loss, and infection can cause death soon after.

Wolves can be avoided by keeping distance, sneaking, and not carrying smelly items. These smelly items can also be dropped as lures to temporarily distract wolves. Wolves will also investigate thrown stones which land nearby.

When killed, wolves provide 3.0-6.0 kg of raw meat, a wolf pelt, and 2 guts. Once cured, wolf hides can be used to craft the wolfskin coat. On Stalker and Interloper mode, wolf meat both cooked and raw carries the risk of intestinal parasites.


  1. If carcass is harvested
  2. If carcass is quartered.


Wolves feature the most varied AI behavior and animations of all wildlife in The Long Dark.

As hunters

A wolf chasing a rabbit

Wolves chase nearby rabbit, deer, and the player. On detecting a target a wolf will bark and give chase, sprinting at close distances and killing prey animals on contact, or beginning a wolf struggle with the player. After a kill, wolves will eat their prey's carcass until no harvestable yield remains ("Ravaged").

Breaking a wolf's line of sight, keeping scent low and running may help lose a stalking wolf. Wolves usually will not approach campfires or lit flares, and cannot go indoors or inside vehicles. Climbing felled trees or rock outcropping may also cause a wolf to lose interest or flee.


Individual wolves may stop and howl at the sky, shortly after others nearby will stop and respond. This can be very useful to gauge how many wolves are in the area, and in which directions and distances.


Wolves may be found in all major regions wandering, hunting or defending kills. Should they encounter the player by any of their senses, they will issue a bark and begin stalking at a walking pace. Prolonged stalking may result in a wolf giving up or charging the player. A stalking wolf will immediately charge if the player attempts to aim any weapon (stones included). For detailed information on wolf behavior see: "AI and Spawning", below.

Aurora wolves

During an aurora all wolves will glow green and act erratically: barking regularly and running in circles. During this state wolves are more aggressive and may detect and attack the player at longer distances; they will also not flee from torches, flares, marine flares or be repelled by campfires. Struggles against aurora wolves are also harder, however they may be scared by artificial lighting brought to life by the aurora: including street lamps, car headlights and the flashlight's "high-power" mode. Revolver, hunting rifle and distress pistol shots are still effective at frightening aurora wolves.

A wolf feeding on a rabbit

Defending kills

A wolf that has recently killed a prey animal will begin eating it. Feeding continues as the carcass' yields are reduced until none remain. While it is eating the wolf's perception is reduced. Feeding wolves are unique in that they are the only wildlife which may still attack a player on Pilgrim difficulty.


Any items that produce scent (any meat, gut, quarters, etc.) will will attract wolves if carried, and may be dropped as bait to lure them, which can be used to flee or kill the wolf. If a wolf detects a prey animal while stalking the player, it may pursue the animal instead. While a wolf is approaching and escaping with bait, they are still able to detect the player and attack if too close.


Wolves are afraid of fire and will generally not cross over it, instead keeping a 3 meter distance from it at the minimum. This makes campfires, torches, and flares valuable wolf deterrents.

Throwing torches and flares also provide a chance to interrupt a wolf's charge; wolves stopped this way may either flee or continue stalking the player.

A guaranteed way to scare off a wolf is to throw a lit torch or flare on the ground (before the wolf has begun charging), walking over the spot where it landed, and then aiming your weapon at the wolf. The animal will charge at you, stop a few meters away, and then flee. This trick is fundamental to survive on Interloper difficulty.

  • During an aurora wolves are not deterred by flares or fire. Caution should be exercised in the evening or night if sheltering by a fire outdoors, for if an aurora begins it would override nearby wolves fear of fire and allow them to attack immediately. For this reason, it is generally not recommended to sleep or pass time outside where wolves are present.


Wolves will flee from hunting rifle and revolver reports, as well as the impacts of nearby bullets and arrows.


Wolves investigate thrown stones, and may flee if a stone lands near or hits them. If thrown near idle wolves, they will investigate before returning to their old route. This can be exploited to scare wolves from their kill, or temporarily relocate wolves from areas.


Wolf attack.jpg

Wolves within 15 meters of the survivor will sprint towards them and lunge, beginning a struggle. The player will be prompted to select a tool from their inventory to defend themselves with, followed by the player and wolf fighting, damaging one another's condition and possibly tearing the survivor's clothing or causing blood loss. If the player fails to scare off the wolf and is not killed, they will faint and reawaken to the wolf walking away. It is common to survive a wolf attack particularly at high condition and on lower difficulties.

  • After being defeated in a struggle, several of the player's items will be lying on ground. If a ranged weapon was equipped when attacked, it too will be on the ground.
  • Since wolves require contact to begin a struggle, attacks can be avoided by using terrain to prevent the wolf path-finding to the player.
  • Standing halfway down a ledge or crouched under a terrain object makes one immune to wolf attack.
  • Firetrap behavior (explained above) will shield from charging wolves. Using time acceleration activities will release a wolf from firetraps created using a torch or flare.


When a Wolf attacks the player is prompted with three options for defense, based on the tools in their inventory. 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 ("Desperation")

*This list assumes you want to kill the wolf, and that you are revolver skill level 5.

The Revolver is the most effective as it not only works as a bludgeon, but can also be fired once the struggle bar reaches a certain point; firing will immediately end a struggle. Firing the revolver requires it to be loaded, and has a chance to instantly kill the wolf. It should be noted that at lower Revolver Firearm skill levels, the revolver is generally outclassed by other options, and will only be the best option after reaching Revolver Firearm level 3.

If attempting to end the struggle as quickly as possible, the Heavy Hammer will likely be the best option in most scenarios, unless the player has a Revolver and high Revolver Firearm skill level. The hammer carries a 15% chance to instantly end struggles and a 5% chance to instantly kill a wolf, making it the only tool capable of killing the wolf in the immediate struggle besides the revolver. The lack of guns and increased damage taken during struggles also makes it the best struggle option for Interloper difficulty runs.

Both the Hatchet and Hunting Knife will fatally wound a wolf and cause it to bleed out eventually; however, the hatchet is more effective and ends the struggle faster. The Prybar is the least effective tool and, much like bare hands, should not be chosen unless there is no other option.


Struggles are best avoided, but are sometimes inevitable:

  • Fill the struggle meter to end the struggle, causing the wolf to flee. Filling requires clicking as fast as possible.[2]
  • If the has the Hold To Struggle option enabled in the settings, the player may hold to fill the meter instead.
  • Be well-rested. Fatigue affects struggle progress.
  • Be armed. Bare hands are ineffective.
  • Carry bandages. Blood Loss is extremely deadly, causing 30% total Condition loss per hour (in-game). Carry multiple bandages in case of multiple wounds, or subsequent attacks, and have access to antiseptic within several hours.
  • Some clothes offer protection from struggles, reducing condition loss during them.[3]
  • Remove fragile clothing prior to a struggle, to prevent it being damaged/destroyed.
  • If one wants a easier time in a struggle, go to settings then to accessibility and change struggle input to Press and Hold; this will make it easier to fight off a wolf. All the player needs to do is press and hold the action key. Now wolf struggles can end in seconds with minimal condition loss and injuries. However, some may say this is cheating by using a setting made to help those with disabilities to your advantage.


A wolf may be killed by shots from any weapon (except stones). All weapons cause bleeding, which is certain death for the animal; but even injured wolves can engage in struggles. If not killed instantly, once a wolf finishes fleeing from a gunshot they will slow to a walk.

Wolves may also be injured or killed by hand during struggles; however, this poses serious risk to the player, their tools and clothing, and potentially consumes medical supplies.

  • Wolves only bleed onto the ground when fleeing. After slowing to a walk blood will not appear on the ground, however the animal will continue bleeding and will eventually die. Blood drops will again appear if the wolf starts running again (subsequent gunshot, thrown lit flare, etc).

Critical hits

Critical hits are random occurrences, but are more likely in designated critical areas. Wolves four such areas: the head and neck (100% chance of crit), the front shoulder and chest (100% for rifle, 30% for bow), hindquarters, and feet (0%). Critical hits may also occur in struggles randomly.

  • 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 from weapons which hit a wolf cause blood loss; or a chance after a struggle if the player used a knife or hatchet. Wolves lose condition at a rate based on where they were shot. Multiple shots cause additional condition damage from impact, but do not bleed out any faster. A wolf bleeding from multiple wounds will use the highest bleed out value.

Time to bleed out


  • A simple strategy wolf killing is to shoot its head with a ranged weapon. This is made easier by first distracting the wolf so it will stand still for a clean shot:
    • Baiting: dropped smelly items with attract nearby wolves, who will try to reach the bait.
    • Firetrap: while the wolf is trapped by a fire, line up a clean shot. Such as dropping a lit torch while a wolf is following the player.
    • Hunt the hunter: Scare deer/rabbits towards a wolf, or lure a following wolf to one. Dispatching the wolf after it kills the prey results in two animal carcasses for only one shot.
    • Ambush: crouch to sneak into the path of an approaching wolf.
  • Wolves may also be engaged in struggles, though this is far more dangerous than using ranged weapons. See Struggles (above).

AI and Spawning

Wolves exhibit multi-modal behavior based on whether/not they have detected an entity, the entity's type and distance, and their current stance.

A fixed number of wolves are present per region (living and dead), generated at wolf spawn points which they wander close to. Each spawn point can only house one wolf at a given time, though others may spawn at neighboring points. As in-game time progresses wolves may move between points. The number of active wolf spawn points, and the availability of some increases based on the difficulty setting.


  • Sight: Wolves see 30m forward in a 45° angle from the center of their head, reduced to 15m if the player crouching. Line of sight blockers (trees, hills, structures) reduce this further, but not by time of day or weather (fog or blizzards).
  • Smell: Wolves smell regardless of terrain in a 45m radius from the player or dropped smelly item. The "Scent Indicator" UI element shows an estimate of current player scent, increased by carrying more smelly items (raw or cooked meat, fresh hides, fresh guts, rabbit carcasses). The player has a minimum smell radius of 5m which increases up to 75m; strong winds can increase or decrease this radius +/-15m.
  • Sound: Wolves can hear rifle/revolver/distress pistol reports at 100m, and projectile impacts of all weapons at 20m (all bullets, arrows, and stones). Discharges and nearby impacts cause wolves to flee (except stones), unless they are attacking.


  • Eat: (not detected) stationary wolf which has killed a rabbit, deer or received bait. May detect their surroundings at reduced levels, but will not rotate unless alerted.
  • Alert: (detected) stationary wolf which may rotate to face the player. If detecting the player while feeding on a carcass, if stalking but unable to approach due to a lit flare or campfire, or if two wolves have detected the player (the Wolf who's spawn point is further from the player's current position, will stop stalking and start growling). Will attack if approached (>15m).
  • Idle: (not detected) mobile wolf walking slowly with occasional stops, howling or rotating to walk in different directions. Idle at their spawn point, or returning to it.
  • Jog: (detected <30m, or prey any distance) mobile wolf investigating nearby sounds or smells (thrown store, dropped decoy). Jogging wolves chasing rabbit/deer which become unloaded (e.g. player region transition) instantly catch and kill their prey.
  • Run: (detected >30m) mobile wolf which runs for 15 minutes (in-game) on detecting a weapon report, impact, loses a struggle, detects a bear/moose, detects a carried bearskin bedroll, equipped wolfskin coat, a lit flare or torch is thrown at their feet, or is struck directly with a thrown stone.
  • Charge: (detected <15m, or <30m for rabbit or deer) the wolf will move until hitbox collides with their target. Contact with the player begins a struggle, or a rabbit/deer kills it instantly. If a wolf charging the player does not make contact after 10 seconds (real-time), they will flee for 5 minutes (in-game)(e.g. player is in an inaccessible location). Charging wolves ignore held lit flares/torches unless thrown, and may ignore weapon shots. Wolves immediately charge a detected if the player aims any weapon. (Note: a charging wolf is as fast as a sprinting unfatigued/unburdened player).
  • Struggle: (detected <1m) begins a wolf struggle.

Unique Wolves

Several wolves in The Long Dark are unique, and thus affectionately named by the community. These special wolves are special may only be encountered at their spawn points (unlike other wolves, which have variable spawn points and wander), though they are not more powerful or visually distinct from other wolves.

  • Unique Wolves will not respawn once killed.
  • Unique Wolves do not spawn in Pilgrim mode, or the first 12 hours of Voyageur (as per it's 'Grace Period' setting).


A wolf which was previously the only wildlife which could be encountered indoors.

In previous versions of The Long Dark (0.124) she could be found inside of the turbine room of the Carter Hydro Dam (Upper). Initially players reported her presence as a bug due to this unexpected location; however, she quickly developed a cult following on the Official Hinterlands Forums for her reputation of murdering unsuspecting new players. "Fluffy" was not officially named or mentioned in the changelog when initially added to the game, but after being named by the community her name stuck and she was officially mentioned in the changelog for 0.127. She seems to have gained access to the dam's interior through a broken window from the Winding River.

Fluffy was removed from Carter Hydro Dam (Upper) in Survival Mode in version 1.00 (August 1, 2017) during the Wintermute release, because her AI could not effectively pathfind the new interior map. In Story Mode: Episode Two her corpse can be found inside the Carter Hydro Dam by Mackenzie. The November 2019 developer diary stated that Fluffy would return, and as of the Errant Pilgrim update Fluffy resides inside the Last Resort Cannery, ambushing.

Fluffy in the story mode

As of the Hesitant Prospect update despite Fluffy's previous re-introduction at Bleak Inlet she has lost her unique status of being the only indoors wildlife, as Rabbits may spawn extremely rarely inside of some caves, such as transition cave between Forlorn Muskeg and Bleak Inlet.

"Demon" Wolves

"Demon" Wolves are a Halloween-themed wolf variant found in the 4 Days of Night mode that have distinct glowing red eyes but behave like regular Wolves. If the player has eaten Pumpkin Pie recently, Demon Wolves will flee similar to Pilgrim game mode. When a Demon Wolf dies their eyes lose the red glow, making them indistinguishable from regular wolves.


Update history

  • hotfix 20 January 2020 (Update):
    • [AI] Stags now animate correctly after being felled by a Wolf.
    • [AI] Polished Stag and Wolf animations and transitions.
  • hotfix 30 October 2014 (Update):
    • All wildlife spawns are now more dynamic, and will change over the course of a game. Wolves, Deer, and Rabbits all refresh on different intervals, reflecting their relative mobility and travel/migration patterns.
  • hotfix 2 October 2014 (Update):
    • Wolves no longer run from deer.
  • hotfix 5 September 2014 (Update):
    • Wolf feeding animation alignment improved.
    • A Wolf Attack now results in Blood Loss and Infection Risk (vs. immediate Infection, as before). Infection Risk is reduced by applying Antiseptic. Wounds can become Infected up to 24 hours after they have been inflicted.
  • hotfix 22 August 2014 (Update):
    • Wolves will now stop to feed on fresh Deer kill. The amount of meat that can be retrieved from a carcass is affected by how long a Wolf feeds on it.
  • hotfix 13 August 2014 (Update):
    • Added new Wolf turning animations.
    • Complete overhaul of Wildlife Spawning system. Wildlife will now spawn only if there is valid population remaining per a 24-hour period. Fresh carcasses (ex. Wolf kill) will decay (due to predation and the elements). It is now possible for a spawn region to become depopulated.
  • hotfix 31 July 2014 (Update):
    • Fixed problem with wolf sliding while playing its howl animation.
    • Wolf Struggle: Non-critical VO will not play during the struggle.
    • Wolves: Fixed some unreported issues related to wolf attacks interrupting gear inspection, eating, drinking, and fire starting.
  • hotfix 9 July 2014 (Update):
    • Tuned the Wolf struggle to make it a bit more challenging.
    • Updated all Wolf spawn regions, and added new Wolf and Deer spawn regions to the world.
    • Added NoSpawn trigger zones around in-world locations that should be safe from Wolves. You will no longer wake up to a wolf attack in the Hunter’s Blind.
  • hotfix 2 July 2014 (Update):
    • Updated the Wolf model (for real this time).
    • Significant overhaul of Wolf attack interactions. Added Struggle gameplay.
  • hotfix 20 June 2014 (Update):
    • Updated the Wolf model.
  • update 12 June 2014 (Update):
    • Added to game


  • Wolves are most aggressive in Stalker difficulty, but deadliest in Interloper.
  • The Wolf model and animation rig has undergone numerous updates and complete overhauls since Early Access.
  • Wolves are featured in many of The Long Dark's UI (user interface) elements, such as a walking Wolf on some Loading Screens.