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What's New In the Adirondacks

Are Wild Wolves Making A Return?

Wolves have been thought to be extinct for over a hundred years in the Adirondacks and Northeast United states, until recently. Could the Adirondack timber wolf be making a comeback? Read on to find out.

Reuben Cary shot a wolf in the Adirondacks in 1899, which is currently on display at the Adirondack Museum. It was thought for a while that this was the last wolf in the Adirondacks, but several have been killed in the last few decades. 

The question is whether or not these wolves are wild.


A coyote hunter killed an 83-pound male wolf just north of the Great Sacandaga Lake in 2001. The wolf responded to a deer carcass that was placed for coyote bait. There were also two wolves shot in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom in 1998 and 2006. These two wolves probably migrated south from Quebec into the area. Five other wolves were shot in New York and New England, and the specimens were examined to determine whether they were wild, or had escaped from captivity.

The wolves went through a series of tests to determine what they had been eating, which would answer the question of where the wolves came from. Captive wolves are usually fed scrap meat that comes from domesticated farm animals that are raised on corn. Wild wolves eat herbivores that have been surviving on wild plants in the area. The chemical isotopes that are produced from wild plants in the northeast are different from the isotopes produced by corn. The diet of the wolves can be determined, which in turn shows us where they came from.

After testing, scientists found that five of the wolves had a domestic diet, and that three had been living in the wild. They don't know for sure where the wolves are coming from, some think the upper Great Lakes region, or Ontario's Algonquin Park. What is assumed, is that if a few wolves have migrated from the north, more will follow.

After the expiration of wolves in the northeast in the early 1900s, coyotes migrated north and began filling the niche that the wolves had vacated. There are also coyotes that are part wolf in the northeast, but these mixed breeds are significantly smaller than the native wolves.

The next question is protection. (Not for us, for the wolves!) There was talk some years ago about reintroducing wolves to the northeast, but nothing ever happened. Now that they are reintroducing themselves, should we protect the species until the numbers are up? Gray wolves are protected throughout the country, just not in the east. The Adirondack wolf is a timber wolf, but after extensive studies it has been determined that all wolves in North America are a variety of the gray wolf, and fall under the same species.

What do you think? Should we protect timber wolves and encourage their reclaiming of the Adirondacks and the northeast? This will surely affect the coyote population, and probably the density of the deer population as well as other prey. 

The land belongs to the wolves just as much as it belongs to us (if not more), but I don't think I would want to come across an 85 lb. timber wolf while hiking through the Adirondacks. Would you?


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Yes we should protect the Timber Wolves, they shouldn't be shot for occupying the same area as people.

It's ridiculous to say that you don't want them to reclaim their old habitat just because you are afraid of them while hiking. They should be protected because they are a species that belongs to the Adirondacks, and hopefully they would decrease the coyote population which has greatly hurt the deer population in the past decade.

I certainly would love to come across one! And I would shot it on site, with my Pentax K10D, as many times as it would let me before it or I left the area. If they are not starving, I don't think any one would have a problem with a wild wolf, if you even knew it was there.

Think of wolves as a very skiddish large dog. They may look frightening, but they are scared of humans. They should be treated the same way we treat the black bear. Stand your ground, make a lot of noise, and they'll run away.

Wolves are like any other animal. If they feel they could be injured at all they aren't going to bother you. In the ADKs there are black bears. I have had close interactions with them. Honestly just be smart. Use bear canisters, setup your cooking area away from your sleeping area, and not try to pet the friggin things.

Yeah, I'd say protect them until their numbers are up.

For the record, I'm not saying I don't want timber wolves to reclaim their territory because I'm afraid they will attack me. Wolves are awesome, majestic animals and I would love to see a wild one. I just wouldn't want to stumble upon one that I'm not aware of, the same as a fisher, porcupine, or black bear. Thanks for reading!

The Timberwolves are a sub-par NBA team at best, and should not be protected

Protect them. We can protect ourselves by being smart while in territory where they live. We do it with the bears already. As long as there is an ample food supply for the wolves they should leave us alone. I hope!

Definitely protect them to the fullest extent! There are enough deer from here to Timbuktu to support their population. Send some down to PA because our deer population is a little on the exploding side. I am soo excited and thrilled about this. Wild wolves in driving distance! Now i don't have to spend oddles of cash to head out to the western US to see the,. I cannot wait to get out to hike up there this upcoming year. I probably won't see them for years to come because of their shyness, elusiveness, and small population but just that chance is worth it! Now i can put that camera to some good use on a regular basis!


The question of whether you would want to run into a wolf while hiking in the Adirondacks is moot. Take a look at all the documented cases of wolves attacking people and you'll find that they are mostly in northern India where population has grown so much that the wolves natural prey has vanished and they didn't have a choice. There are but a couple other places in the world that wolves have preyed on people, but lack of natural prey was always the bonding factor. the other factor to consider is how often do you stumble upon a bear in the wild while simply hiking? Not very often. I am an avid hiker in the ADKs and quite often spend time bushwhacking and only on rare occasion do I see bear. 99 times out of 100 they smell us and flee the area before we get near them. Wolves have an even greater sense of smell then bear. Coyotes out number bear in the park, but we see even less of them.

Why not let nature takes it's course? There are many dangerous creatures.
In the wild. Use good sense and care while out and about and
there should be room for all to roam.


I remember reading some 10-15 years ago where the government was re-introducing the wolf to the Adirondack Park. They must have done it!

My husband and I saw a wolf in the Central ADKs a number of years ago. Some people said it was impossible, others believed that there were wolves that had traveled down from Canada. I am not afraid that there are wolves in the Adirondacks, I see more wildlife when I am in suburbia than when I am in the mountains where the animals have adequate habitat.

I'd rather spot a wolf than a coyote or a wild dog. The wolf will head the other way, unless sick or injured. Coyotes are unpredicatable, and wild dogs often go after anything that moves that they think is weaker than they are.

shoot them on sight. not something you want in a populated area. that is why they were exterminated to begin with.


If the ADK's are supposed to be "Wild", then let them BE... "Wild". Perhaps it would do humans well to feel what "Wild" means.

You should like a hick! Bragging about killing it makes you sound like you are insecure about your manhood. It's a shame that no animal is safe in the Adirondacks because of all the rednecks that want to kill everything'

I have visited the Adirondack region literally every year of my life; while hiking I've come across a large variety of animals from deer to coyotes to bears. These animals have never caused me a problem, which is why the Adirondack Wolf should absolutely be protected. They are coming back from "extinction" and are clearly endangered, the best thing we can do is to PROTECT them and educate the people that could come into connect with these magnificient animals!

I love the Adirondacks and to have timber wolves return to their "native land" is awesome! They belong there more then we do and I am willing to share the space with them.

I think the wolves should be protected in the Northeast just like the rest of the country. The wolves will affect the coyotes population but that would be a good thing. I believe the wolves have always been in the Adirondacks, they went deep into the
woods so no one could find them and kill them. It has been proven that wolves are more afraid of people then we are of them. The only time a wolf will attack wild life or people is if it is blinded by hunger. Humans have a bad habit of trying to play
god with animals and we should protect them and leave them alone.


i think when the moose become established in the adk. the wolf pack will follow

If the wolves have the tenacity to make their way back to the Adirondacks we should do all we can to protect these magnificent animals.

I agree with Scott, I wouldn't want to come across a Wolf in the wild! What a great blog!

leave the bears alone. i would be much more frightened to come across a rattle snake then a wolf.

Wolves in the Adirondacks... very exciting! Definitely they should have some protection, but we also need to be aware they're there. Education of the population that lives there needs to be a part of an intentional plan for wolf/human coexistence.

Rich, the wolves in the past were exterminate do to plain and simple ignorance. As our white, European ancestors developed this great land they killed just about everything that moved including the Native Americans. The Indians lived with wolves for many centuries before we came along and they respected and cherished their existence. We need to learn from our past mistakes.

id rather come across the largest wolf than a mountain lion who have already started coming to the party.

let the wolf be. the mountain lion on the other hand is a more unpredictable situation.

I live in the southern Adirondacks. We see wild dogs all the time. If the wolf wants to live in the wild fine. But if they come in and start eatting someones little dog or cat? That is one of the problems now with the wild dogs. These mountains are my home too.

Just a thought. If I connected Pit Bulls to being in the city and thought the city parks should have lots of them in there so when I went to the city I could drive around the park and see Pit Bulls. Now don't shoot them or get rid of them. They have a right to live too.

See my point? i do not want to see them hunted. But I feel I have the right to protect my animals. We do not need another law.

I'm pretty sure the wolves were there before us ,idk I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure they were so y not give them the right to come back??!!
The Adirondacks are beautiful but would be even more beautiful if there were wolves.It also drives me crazy to think that they were extinct from there "native land" hence the name adirondack timer wolf

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