Wolves are carnivores, and will usually hunt in groups, relying on speed, agility and their ability to cooperate and separate their prey from other animals. The player can encounter wolves in the wilderness and hunt them. Wolves may also attack the player, their mount and other NPCs. Players need to stay alert, as they will often attack from behind. Listen for them howling or barking in the background. Like cougars, they are notorious for interrupting the player in the most uncalled for moments while they are in the middle of something. They are 4.5 ft long and weigh 75-100 lbs. They feed on rabbits, Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, boar, buffalo, skunk, armadillo, raccoon, horse, fox, coyote and even cougar. Packs of wolves are extremely aggressive and can even dispatch bears with relative ease.
They hunt in large groups of up to ten wolves, so if the player encounters a small pack of four to five wolves then they should either move on quickly or get ready to take on another group of wolves. Sometimes, the wolves keep coming in waves of three to five; this can go on and on until the player has killed as many as 60+ wolves. Wolves, unlike coyotes, are not afraid of gun fire; however, they may begin to run away if another wolf is killed or if they are shot at, especially when using a shotgun. Single wolves occasionally spawn, and are more timid than packs. These lone wolves will only bite the player once before running in fear. Also unlike when in groups, they can be scared off prior to biting by firing any weapon, similar to coyotes.
Wolves are also found in abundance north of MacFarlane's Ranch and south of Armadillo. Be warned while hunting in Tall Trees. There are even more to be found west of Blackwater, near but not on, the river. A group of 15-20 wolves resides there. They are also found in Repentance Rock in small packs of about two to four. They're also found in abundance at Riley's Charge. They also appear frequently in Perdido and Punta Orgullo, and on the eastern side of Diez Coronas, around Butter Bridge. Wolves also often spawn outside the gate of Chuparosa, in waves of five.
Wolves are very fast, therefore a kill by gun fire can be difficult without Dead Eye. A substitute is using the Hunting Knife, wolves have low health and can easily be killed with several slices, be wary however, of how easily a wolf can drain a player's health. When a wolf latches onto a player's arm, the player cannot fire until the beast is shaken off, and it only takes around three to four bites to kill a player. Usually when using the knife an entire pack attacking at once is not a problem, as wolves do not keep a constant speed with each other, so one will usually follow another, not them all attacking at once, a few quick stabs can easily kill off a wolf, and usually dispatch the wolf before another arrives. The Bolt Action is unquestionably the best wolf rifle in the game, as it's powerful enough to kill a wolf in one shot no matter where it is hit (though it may limp for a couple of seconds before collapsing, during which it is completely harmless), and it's higher ammo capacity makes it better in dealing with entire packs when compared to the Buffalo Rifle .
A good tactic is to use a Sawed-off Shotgun and fire off a couple of random shots. Wolves aren't afraid of most gunfire but they are afraid of the boom from the shotgun. So firing it will cause them to turn and run away, giving the player a chance to regenerate health and pursue if desired.
To easily kill a wolf with a melee knife, allow the wolf to latch onto Marston's arm, and press the fire button. Marston will kill the wolf with a single swipe. This occasionally works with guns, but usually the wolf is thrown first.
The bottom east corner of West Elizabeth is a good spot to hunt wolves, the wolves will come in packs of 3-5 so the damage per wave is minimal. As long as the player stands by the corpses, as many as 50 wolves can be killed in a matter of a few minutes. Be careful, however, as cougars can come from behind, while wolves come from the front. Make sure to save frequently.
To kill many wolves in one location, stand by Marston's house in Beecher's Hope near the wooded area. It will seem as a never ending swarm of wolves.
Lure a pack of wolves towards any bears and they will proceed to fight. Bears and grizzlies will kill an attacking wolf with one swipe of their paws.
If there are any rattlesnakes in the area, the wolves will go out of their way to kill them, even if that means to stop attacking the player. Dead rattlesnakes can often be found when wolf hunting.
For this trick, get some Bait, Medicine and Tobacco (Moonshine, Snake Oil, and Tonic also helps). It is also useful to be near the Manteca Falls and Butter Bridge area. Having a horse or mule deed means calling a new one if the wolves kill the horse or mule.
To easily amass money find a spot where there are wolves, then drop down 2-3 baits. Kill and skin all animals that come into the area. After a relatively short time, there will be wolves howling. Using a combination of Dead Eye and rapid aim, shoot and kill as many of the incoming wolves as possible. They usually attack in packs of 3-6 animals. There's no need to kill the whole pack at once - killing one or two, the rest will usually flee and come back later. Don't skin the wolves as this would leave the player open to attacks.
Eventually, players end up with a spiraling effect where dead animals lures more packs, which leads to more dead wolves in the area, which leads to even more packs.
If the wolves kill Marston's mount or any snakes, he can also skin them for additional profit meaning the player will have a huge supply of wolf pelt, wolf meat and wolf heart along with horse or mule meat and horse or mule hide from the previous mount and snake skin if the wolves killed any snakes before they attack the player. In addition wolves will fight bears and grizzlies should they be nearby each other so there is also a chance of a tidy profit in the bear and grizzly loot too.
- Most of the wolves in game are black in color. Some believe that this means that they have dog ancestry, however, this coat variation is very common in warmer climates such as in the game.
- Their small size seems to indicate that the wolves in the game are Mexican Grey Wolves, however, Mexican Grey's are very rarely black in color.
- In-game, wolves can be heard barking, while in reality wolves rarely bark, and when they do, this is usually when a wolf is startled or otherwise surprised.
- Sometimes in wolf packs, animals or humans may be seen acting like a wolf and making the same sounds. This is simply a common bug.
- Wolves are one of the few animals 'the hunter', who is randomly encountered during the game, wants the player to hunt and kill using the bait given to the player before the challenge begins.
- When a wolf attacks the player, it will sometimes hang on to Marston's arm before being thrown a short distance; the same thing will sometimes happen when the player attacks a domesticated dog in any town or settlement in the game.
- If you have the hunting knife while a wolf grabs your arm, he will kill the wolf with a quick slice instead of throwing it.
- If John gets attacked by a wolf while wielding the Hunting Knife, he will say, "How do you think I got these scars?!", suggesting he got his scars from fighting wolves sometime in the past. This was later confirmed in Red Dead Redemption 2 as shown in the mission Enter, Pursued by a Memory.
The player must kill a wolf to successfully complete the following achievements/trophy's:
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.
Obtain Legendary rank in any Single Player Ambient Challenge.