Wolves are iconic and are found roaming throughout all of the regions in The Long Dark. Based on the level of difficulty, wolves are one of the most serious threats to a player. Listen for the sounds of howling and/or footsteps.

Overview Edit

Wolves are common, and can be found either roaming alone or with other wolves, in packs of up to four. On higher difficulties, they are also aggressive and on the prowl. While one wolf attack will not kill a healthy player outright, encountering two back-to-back or even one when in poor health can be deadly. Wolves can be avoided by simply giving them a wide berth. Sneaking may be helpful in some circumstances. Actually rather scrawny, they typically only have 4.0 kg of raw meat but their hides can be utilized to craft the very warm wolfskin coat.

Behavior Edit

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

As hunters Edit

Wolf chasing rabbit

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 their prize.

Joining the hunt Edit

Sometimes wolves will bark when starting to chase prey; a signal to nearby wolves that something tasty is near. Any wolf hearing this will join the stalking wolf in chasing after the intended prey. First one to catch the prey eats it. All others wander away, often toward where they started the chase.

Howling Edit

Individual wolves occasionally stop and let out a long howl at the sky. Other wolves that hear that howl will all stop and respond similarly and in unison. This can be used to gauge how many wolves are in your area, and in which directions.

Interaction Edit

Sometimes wolves flee from the character, but usually they don’t, especially on the harder difficulties. Wolves typically start by stalking any character 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 prolonged by backing away.

Night wolf Edit

After dark, wolves gain a lot more perception and no longer stalk the player. Instead they charge in silently from far away. Also, their eyes glow green.

Wolf feeding

A wolf feeding on a rabbit

Defending kills Edit

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 charge without warning. A wolf may attack a player on pilgrim difficulty if the player is close enough to a feeding wolf. Even after successfully defending its kill, wolf will not again feed on that carcass.

Baiting Edit

Dropped food items will distract a wolf. If a wolf detects a prey animal while it is stalking the player, it will shift its attention to the animal instead. Usually this break in contact is brief, because the wolf will quickly kill its new prey then charge the player to defend that kill.

Fire Edit

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. Campfires will always scare a wolf into running away, while torches and flares offers 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.

Gunshots Edit

Wolves will sometimes run away from the sound of the hunting rifle being fired. If an arrow is shot near the wolf they will also run away.

Stones Edit

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.

Struggles Edit

Wolf attack

Wolf charges in and pins the character to the ground face-to-face. Fight back to cause damage to the wolf and try to convince it to flee. Otherwise, the character will eventually black out. Wolves walk away casually after the character blacks out. It is very common to survive a wolf attack. Blacked-out character will slowly stand back up before being able to interact again.

  • Since wolves require physical contact to injure the player, attacks can be escaped using terrain blocking, doors, and game path-finding errors to avoid 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 player's inventory will be thrown on the ground if character blacked out. If a ranged weapon was equipped when attacked, it will be found on the ground, too.

Weapons Edit

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

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

Preparation Edit

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]

Hunting Edit

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 hitsEdit

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 Edit

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 Edit

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

Strategies Edit

  • 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 wolf is trapped by a fire, line up a clean shot. Dropping a lit torch while 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).

Carcass Edit

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 Edit

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 Edit

'Fluffy' lives in the upper part of Carter Hydro Dam. It is a large dark space, with many treasures to discover. 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 0.326 and 0.349) but after being named by the community, her name stuck and she was officially mentioned in changelog 0.349. As of that update, her chance of spawning inside the dam has been reduced. 

She was the first and for a long time only wolf to be encountered indoors and continues to surprise and challenge many new players. Her previous victim has seemingly escaped through the hatch to the lower levels only to die there in the dark. Apparently she gained access to the dam through a broken window.

Dead fluffy

Fluffy in the story mode

However, after the story mode release, Fluffy managed to escape from the Dam somehow, therefore she is no longer in the Dam. However, there are 2 wolves at Winding River (It was only one wolf before the story mode release), it is possible one of the two wolves is Fluffy. It has been reported that the Fluffy A.I was unable to recognize the pathfinding system in the new Dam interior which is the reason why she no longer makes an appearance in the Dam.[4]

In the story mode, Fluffy is found dead in the hallways of the Dam, likely an easter egg.

Scruffy Edit

'Scruffy' lives in a moderately sized cave in Desolation Point. Again, a large dark space with multiple passages, hearing his unseen growls echo though the cave has shocked many players. Scruffy also has a previous victim, dead on or at the bottom of an overlook, though this victim has yet to be named.

Unlike Fluffy, Scruffy is still in his cave and did not escape from it.

Demon Wolf Edit

The Demon Wolf is a halloween seasonal version of the regular wolf, which only occurs during the 4 Four Days of Night. It has a distinct red gaze in its eyes but other than that, it behaves like its regular counterpart. If the players 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 loose their red tint and it becomes indistinguishable from a regular wolf.

Gallery Edit

  1. Timber Wolf. ".426 Wolf Struggle Tests." Hinterland Forums. October 14, 2017.
  2. WanderingPalm. "Fighting wolves." Hinterland Forums. September 09, 2017.
  3. Timber Wolf. ".426 Wolf Struggle Tests." Hinterland Forums. October 14, 2017.
  4. Van Lierop, Raphael. Twitter. January 18, 2018.
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