The game actively tracks all deaths and kills in each individual wolf file. Kill and death counts are displayed under the Pack Stats interface while the game is paused.
If a player dies, they will hear a brief sound clip play while the camera pans to the front of the avatar. In single player, this is game over and the game will prompt the player to reload a previous save or to return to the splash screen.
In multiplayer, a short time after the camera has panned around to the front of the player's fallen wolf, the avatar will respawn after a brief delay with refilled health and stamina, however, the player will lose 500 experience points for each death while playing online.
A pack in single player consists of the player, their mate and their offspring. A pack in multiplayer consists of up to eight human players. Both do gradually lose health as a result of hunger and gradual fatigue.
The mate is an essential NPC throughout the course of the game. It cannot die in this version of the game, but it will abandon any hunt or attack it may be participating in with the player. It will then retreat to the nearest food source in order to replenish its health before returning to the player and continuing to assist.
Wolf pups are permanently vulnerable throughout the second episode. They can easily die at the jaws or claws of trespassing stranger wolves, grizzly bears, cougars or coyotes, by drowning, or by starvation if the player or their mate cannot gather food or if either neglect to feed their litter. Pups that have died do not respawn, meaning the only way to reclaim a lost pup would be to either reload a previous save file or, should the entire litter die, select the "restart with pups" option when prompted.
A deceased puppy will sink into the ground. This entity despawns much faster than other animals after it has died, which may be intentional so as not to upset younger players. Additionally, the health indicator of a dead pup (shown in the HUD) is not removed from the display. The icon will be permanently empty for the rest of the game unless an earlier save is reloaded or the episode is restarted.
Predators do not possess any form of gradual, naturally-occurring health decay.
The game is believed to rely on a predefined roster of stranger wolves using various configurations for each pack. Some wolves in this roster can and will fight to the death with the correct interactions, whereas others will stop after a certain amount of damage, rendering their death difficult or impossible.
It is possible to encounter the same wolves multiple times in any game regardless of how many times the wolf was defeated, spared or the victor of an encounter.
When a stranger wolf dies, the player will receive a brief victory notification with the carcass despawning once the social encounter ends, but no experience is awarded because this is an unrealistic scenario. As they are gray wolves, they share the same death animation as all other wolves in the game.
Throughout normal gameplay, it is impossible to kill Grizzlies due to a health cap. This was put in place to ensure players could never kill them even though they are able to keep up with a fleeing grizzly.
As was proven in older versions of the free game, there is no programming to acknowledge a Grizzly's death. There is no kill count for this predator in the Pack Stats interface, no death animation and no corresponding corpse.
Coyotes are the most common NPCs encountered throughout the game, and the easiest predators to kill, often dying within three bites or more depending on the player's stat spread. They cannot be eaten.
Prey animals do not possess naturally degrading health. They can only be killed by the player(s) and their mate.
Cow and bull elk are medium-large ungulates. Not only are their carcasses edible from the moment they are killed during a successful hunt, theirs are the most widespread sources of food readily available from the moment the a new game is created or an existing save is loaded as a result of the natural generation process. Hence, they are the first dead animals seen from the beginning of the game.
Males are stronger than females and will stand their ground and deal major damage when standing off against a predator threatening his herd. There is only one bull present in each herd. A deceased elk has varying stages of decomposition, which changes while consuming the carcass to visibly indicate how much meat is left. Theirs are the most common carcasses encountered in-game post-world generation.
Though small and fast, hares are by far the easiest prey animals to kill; they can be killed and consumed in a total of two bites. The same applies to wolf pups. It's not uncommon for the mate to autonomously kill a hare that spawns within close proximity while running with the player; if low on health, it will also eat its carcass.
Cattle calves are killed with one blow, but they can provide up to five or more mouthfuls of food for the player and their pups. A dead calf appears to have a stretched neck; this may be an oversight on the developers' part.
Cow and bull moose are large, imposing ungulates. They are stronger and harder to kill than both male and female elk, with males being hardier than females, though both sexes will stand and hold their ground and deal heavy damage when provoked. Both sexes are aggressive and equally dangerous creatures capable of spelling a quick death to the ill-prepared.
Males are stronger than females. Moose are solitary creatures that do not live in herds, so players may happen upon them by chance while exploring the game worlds. A deceased moose has varying stages of decomposition, which changes while consuming the carcass to visibly indicate how much meat is left. Theirs are the rarest carcasses encountered in-game post-world generation.
- Old age is not a possible cause of death. The player is depicted as and will always assume the role of a two-year-old gray wolf. Aging, though implied through the passage of time and seasons, is not a factor.
- In earlier free versions of the game, the mate could die. This was not a permanent state and thus it would respawn after a brief delay.
- Grizzly bears, too, could technically die in earlier free versions, but the death was not legitimate. Often it was possible due to lag.