Monster Wolves In Alaska


That’s where legendary Alaska wolf trapper and hunter Frank Glaser caught a 175-pound male in the summer of 1939, the largest wolf ever documented in Alaska. Glaser trapped the wolf on the Seventymile River near Eagle.

“They run some big wolves in that country,” state wildlife biologist Craig Gardner, who spent 20 years working in the area while stationed at Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Tok, said.

While the wolf Glaser caught had a belly full of meat, Gardner captured a 142-pound male with an empty stomach in 1997 when the state was sterilizing wolves as part of a recovery plan for the Fortymile Caribou Herd. The wolf was the alpha male in a pack of 16 wolves.

“He was just enormous,” Gardner said.

Wildlife biologist John Burch of the National Park Service caught a 148-pound wolf in 2001 in the Fortymile country, i.e. the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve. A female with him weighed 110, Burch said.

“They were on a moose kill,” Burch recalled. “He had a stomach full of meat and so did she.”

Burch has caught one other wolf over 140 pounds -- a 143 pounder 10 years ago -- and four that were over 130 pounds, including a 132 pounder last year.

“Any wolf over 140 I would classify as huge,” Burch said.

The average weight for an adult male wolf in Alaska is about 100 to 110 pounds while females average about 90 pounds. The biggest wolf in most packs almost always are the alpha males, biologists said.

“If you catch an alpha male out of a pack that weighs 120, that’s representative of a big, fully grown adult,” said biologist Mark McNay, who spent half of the 27 years he was at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game studying wolves before retiring in 2007.

During his career at Fish and Game, McNay captured and weighed more than 300 wolves. The biggest was a 143-pound male he caught in the Alaska Range in 2003. That wolf was the alpha male in a pack of 16 and was coming off a fresh kill, he said.

The biggest female McNay has ever caught was a 118-pound wolf in the late 1980s, which he captured in the same area as the 143-pound male in 2003. The alpha male in that pack weighed about 125 pounds.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Wolf size depends on when they last ate

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