The haunting cry of the grey wolf is the classical music of the northwest boreal forest. The wolf once enjoyed a much wider range in North America, but was seen as a pest by ranchers in southern regions, and hunted to extinction in those areas. In the woodlands of the north, the wolf has enjoyed a more continuous presence. Wolves hunt animals much larger than themselves, like caribou and bison. Because of this, wolves have evolved a sophisticated social system in the form of a pack. The pack is governed by an established hierarchy with the strongest male and female, known as alphas, at the top of the chain. Only the alpha male and alpha female reproduce in a given pack, though other pack members help with the rearing of young. As a hunting group, the wolf pack is feared by even the largest of animals, for as a team, wolves can successfully bring down animals that would be too large to hunt if each wolf acted alone.
Wolf pelts were valued during the fur trade, and wolves were often hunted for this reason by many Aboriginal Peoples. A notable exception were the Dogrib, who for religious reasons would not kill a wolf because they believed that wolves were incarnations of deceased ancestors. Wolf meat was sometimes eaten by some Aboriginal Peoples, but the meat of carnivores was less palatable than the meat of herbivores. Male wolves would sometimes mate with female sled dogs, resulting in wolf dog hybrids. These dogs tended to have playful personalities, but were difficult to train in sled work because of their restless natures.