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Rare camera footage shows a wolf hunting a beaver in the waters of northern Minnesota

Minnesota hunter catches unbelievable video of wolf catching a beaver
Minnesota hunter catches unbelievable video of wolf catching a beaver 01:53

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. —  A wild sight caught on camera: A wolf bounding into a river to hunt its prey near Grand Rapids. Its prey? A beaver.

"I couldn't believe I was seeing it," said Jon Galler.

Galler was deer hunting between Lake Mille Lacs and Grand Rapids back in November.  

Galler thought what he heard was a deer. "Of course it wasn't a deer, it was a wolf," said Galler.

"The minute that beaver made a noise, it was a millisecond, and that wolf's ears perked up," Galler explained. "Next thing I know, he's lunging through the water. He reached underneath and pulled that beaver right up."

With prey in mouth, Galler said the wolf was just seven feet away from him.

"I'm not sure if he saw me or maybe caught my wind," said Galler.

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After dropping the beaver and running, two other wolves appeared. One of them then picked up the rodent and eventually ran away.

"I would say that's by far the wildest thing that I've seen," said Galler. "I didn't know how rare it was until I spoke to someone at Voyageurs Wolf Project."

After being passed along among friends and spread on the internet, Tom Gable, Project Lead for Voyageurs Wolf Project, took notice. The University of Minnesota-funded research project studies wolves during summer months.

"What he captured here is one in a million or more," said Gable. "When I saw it, I was like 'wow that is incredible. That is super cool.'"

While Gable said it's just the third-known time a wolf has hunted a beaver on video, it's the very first time, to his knowledge, that a wolf has been caught on camera grabbing a beaver straight out of the water.

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Before this video, Gable said biologists generally thought beavers weren't very vulnerable in the water.

This is not the typical way that wolves hunt their prey, he said.

"No one had ever seen anything like that or anything to even indicate that that would occur," said Gable.

Galler has seen a lot while out deer hunting, but never anything quite like this.

"Great experience," Galler said. "Probably never have anything like that again." 

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