A Few Thoughts About The Largest Wolf
Any talk about the largest wolf usually revolves around the largest wolf every killed. Unless in captivity, it would be difficult, even from photos, to accurately measure the size and weight of a wolf, assuming one would let you get close enough. Wolves can literally hear a pin drop, and if you're on a photo expedition and trying to get a shot of the largest wolf, it may be heading for the next county at a pretty good clip once it hears you coming. On the other hand, it might stick around to have its picture taken, something you really don't want to happen unless you're well armed.
Not A Lap Dog - The largest species of wolf is generally considered to be the Grey wolf (Canis lupus), which is distributed over most of the northern latitudes. The Grey wolf is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. Several species of domestic dog, like the St. Bernard, are larger, but are not wild. There are nearly 40 different subspecies of Grey wolf. The North American wolf is quite large, with males often weighing in the neighborhood of 80 pounds, while European wolves are somewhat lager, with males weighing about 5 pounds more. The largest North American wolf ever killed was killed in Alaska and weighed 175 pounds, while the largest European wolf, killed in the Ukraine weighed a whopping 190 pounds.
There is a photo on a website showing a wolf killed recently that would certainly set the record of the largest wolf killed in modern times. It was shot in Alberta, Canada and the claim is made it weighed 230 pounds. What is interesting about this particular wolf, or at least the image of it being held up by a not too tall man (making the wolf appear even larger), were the comments that were received, some expressing admiration, others contempt, and a few, from either side of the fence, barely reportable. Wolves can generate heated discussions, the larger the wolf the more heated the discussion.
Should you shoot a wolf and claim it's the world's largest, and put an image of it on the Internet, be prepared to stir up some controversy. You'll be considered by some to be a good hunter, considered by others to be lucky to be alive, and by many more to be a jerk, who has killed a beautiful animal for a trophy. Others will say the photograph is a hoax, something that is certainly easy to accomplish given a digital camera and a little software. If you want to claim a record, head for the nearest representative of the Boone and Crockett Club, but steer clear of animal lovers on the way.
The Controversy Rages On - Wolf lovers, and there are many, want the species to be preserved and not hunted, especially for trophies. The wolf is a beautiful and magnificent animal to behold, and does its part to maintain ecological balance. In addition the wolf is not known for bothering humans, although attacks and fatalities have occurred. On the other side of the fence, most ranchers would not hesitate to take a shot at the largest wolf they've ever seen, no matter how magnificent it appears to be. Wolves take a toll on livestock, including in areas where they've recently been reintroduced.
As long as there are animals around, especially animals that are legal to hunt, there will always be a desire to shoot the largest one - that’s just human nature. There are good reasons to shoot wolves and good reasons not to, and that argument may never be resolved. What is certain, shooting wolves for whatever reason is a good way to stir up a controversy, particularly if you pose with your kill and post the photo on the Internet.