Did the wolf get the deer? It all happened within 11 seconds, so there’s maybe a good chance, but I’m no wolf expert. We don’t see it very often that wildlife crossing structures get used as hunting venues. On the contrary, it seem that on the eastern end of the park, wolves lose their prey once these run through an underpass.
It’s been a worry for many people that predators will “abuse” wildlife crossing structures as an easy place to ambush ungulates. So far, this hasn’t happened. While there’s the occasional animal that explores this strategy, an analysis of our data that got published in 2010 (Ford, A.T., A.P. Clevenger. 2010. Validity of the prey-trap hypothesis for carnivore-ungulate interactions at wildlife-crossing structures. Conservation Biology 24 (6): 1679-1685) showed that there’s no evidence that this happens frequently.
I wonder, thus, if that wolf in the photos above crossed paths with the deer at the overpass by chance, and then decided to have a go at it. It would be quite the lucky encounter, since it’s a fairly new overpass that sees regular, but not enormous deer traffic. Judging from the deer’s total oblivion, the wolf (which is a young adult from last year’s litter, I believe) seems to have just started the hunt. Any opinions?