Minnesota is home to the gray wolf, a species that has played a significant role in the state’s natural history (I mean, they named their basketball team after them). Only Minnesota and Alaska have had a continuously viable gray wolf population, and due to successful conservation efforts as well as the the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Minnesota still has a very healthy population with over 2,500 gray wolves in 2024.
Of course, wolves in Minnesota primarily inhabit forested areas, (why they’re called Timberwolves), especially northern regions of the state and Superior National Forest. As one of the area’s premiere carnivores, the gray wolf diet consists of deer, moose, and other smaller mammals. We’ve recently seen footage of them actively fishing which means no food source is off limits. But fishing for beaver? That’s a new one…
For deer hunter Jon Galler, he caught an incredibly rare scene all on camera while hunting between Lake Mille Lacs and Grand Rapids, Minnesota last November. In the wild video footage, you can see a wolf standing by the bank of the lake, with its attention directed towards something in the water.
Next thing you know, the wolf quickly takes off into a water, and attacks a beaver that was swimming underwater.
“I couldn’t believe I was seeing it. Of course it wasn’t a deer, it was a wolf. The minute that beaver made a noise, it was a millisecond, and that wolf’s ears perked up. Next thing I know, he’s lunging through the water. He reached underneath and pulled that beaver right up.”
As the wolf ran off with the beaver in its mouth, you can see it get startled by either Galler or something else, as it picked up speed further into the woods and dropped the beaver:
“I’m not sure if he saw me or maybe caught my wind.”
However, two other wolves were following closely behind, and picked up the beaver. Galler even admitted he didn’t realize how rare a scene like this is at first:
“I would say that’s by far the wildest thing I’ve seen. I didn’t know how rare it was until I spoke to someone at Voyageurs Wolf Project.”
The video caught the eye of Tom Gable, Project Lead for Voyageurs Wolf Project, which is a University of Minnesota-funded research project that studies wolves during the summer.
Gable told the outlet:
“What he captured here is one in a million or more. When I saw it, I was like ‘wow that’s incredible. That is super cool.'”
Whenever you’re out in the woods hunting, you never know what you might witness. You may go out for a few hours and see absolutely nothing, and feel like you wasted a whole morning, or you might witness a once in a lifetime moment. Even if you don’t get a deer…