First, the situation that made me see the need for this idea:
While playing survival yesterday I was about 2 days in and based in the camp office in Mystery Lake. I was playing with fairly unforgiving custom settings and was already out of food but had lucked into finding a rifle nearby. There was a deer along the railroad tracks next to the office so I tried my luck. I of course had not had time to upgrade my rifle skill so not surprisingly the wounded deer went bounding off into the hills, where I followed as best I could until the trail disappeared. I had no idea where it had gone and was close to freezing so I returned eventually to the camp office. I was also starving and low on water but had managed to get a rabbit along the way so I harvested it, started a fire and cooked it/thawed out some water. Upon going back outside I immediately heard the sound the deer make when they die and sure enough over the slight hill you cross before reaching the rr tracks leading towards the trapper's cabin there was the freshly downed carcass. This was either 1) the biggest coincidence in the history of such things (and if so, one I've encountered before) or 2) a case of the deer, still being alive when I entered the office, not only postponing it's death until the exact moment I came back outside but also simultaneously reverting to it's original spawn point. Good bye immersion, it was nice knowing you.
What if instead of the animals spawning at points and then just endlessly patrolling back and forth across that same area you had several, or at least a few, connected routes of combined spawn points/waypoints in each map for each animal type? The map would spawn a randomly determined number of each type of animal, adjusted by game mode/custom settings and would then determine which point on the map spawned each one. The spawn points double as way points so the animal then determines which direction it's going to follow the path and sets off. Upon something happening like being wounded/detecting the player/detecting prey the appropriate AI takes over. When the AI completes whatever action it's going to the animal then just goes on to it's next waypoint as before. I suspect the animals position presently isn't kept track of when the player enters a shelter and they start again at a spawn point when the player enters the outside map again, is this true? If it is could the animal be made to spawn at the last point it crossed along the path?
Returning to the problem of the wounded deer, what if when the player enters a shelter while the animal in question is wounded: 1)If the wound isn't fatal the animal respawns at the next waypoint it would have reached on it's path upon the player exiting the shelter and continues. Or 2) if the wound is fatal the animal moves in a random direction, the distance being determined by how much health it had remaining and dies prior to the player exiting shelter. This random movement should prevent an exploit where the player wounds an animal and ducks into a shelter, immediately emerging to find the dead animal where they left it.
This is an excellent game and I wouldn't bother to post these things if I didn't enjoy it as much as I do, but that being said it also isn't without it's problems. If something similar to the above was done (which would also fix the predictable/persistent obstacle wolf problem) this game would improve tenfold, going from a good game to a truly great one, something I would very much like to see.