While camping with friends on a remote lake in Alberta, Canada, amateur photographer David Smith witnessed something very unusual and very unlikely involving a wolf and a buck.
They were eating breakfast on the shore of Kinnaird Lake in Lakeland Provincial Park on Saturday when they heard rustling in the brush and then saw a deer jump into the water, followed by a second splash.
At first, they thought two deer had jumped into the water.
"So I picked up my camera and zoomed right in and I'm like, 'That's a wolf behind that deer, that's not another deer,'" Smith, of ILEP Photography, explained to CBC News.
In a series of photos Smith posted on Facebook, the wolf is shown trying to take a bite out of the deer's behind. But after a few tries, it realized the futility of what it was attempting to do and turned back to shore. The buck, meanwhile, made it to safety on the opposite side of the peninsula.
"I don't know whether the deer kicked the wolf in trying to get away, or if the wolf just realized that, 'Hey, I can't eat this, and I can't drag it back to shore,'" Smith told CBC News.
A wildlife biologist told Smith that the wolf was probably an immature male and an unskilled hunter.
“He probably wasn’t smart enough to realize that he couldn’t do that,” Smith said. “It’s very unlikely behavior for a wolf to try to do that, let alone swim to try and get a kill. I mean, if he killed it in the water, what would he do?”
The encounter lasted only about a minute, but the memory undoubtedly will last a lifetime.
"What happened I don't think many people will have the luck of seeing, let alone documenting," Smith wrote on Facebook. "Got real lucky."
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