Wolves typically hunt in a pack of six to ten members. When hunting large prey, such as deer or elk, the pack works together to isolate and then bring down their prey.
Once wolves identify potential prey, usually through their sense of smell or a chance encounter, they attempt to draw within striking distance without being detected. While they typically only attack a running animal, wolves try to get very close to their prey before it begins to flee. If the hunt is targeting smaller mammals, such as hares or mice, it is likely to be of short duration. A single wolf can easily immobilize these smaller species with its forepaws and proceed with the kill. A large animal has a better chance of surviving a wolf attack if it stands its ground. Once running, large mammals can be pursued for long periods of time in an effort to wear them out and to decrease their level of resistance to the pending attack. At times, wolves use geographic features such as slopes or ravines to slow down their prey. When attacking large prey, the wolf uses its teeth to inflict wounds on the animal, which results in massive blood loss. Upon completion of a successful hunt, wolves have been known to consume as much as 20 pounds of meat.