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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

29 December 2009 Trip Report

by Wendy

Wolves near Canyon by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ December 2009 ~

Yellowstone Wolf ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

Tuesday - 29 December 2009

Today started at Elk Creek - we had heard that people saw wolves chasing elk last evening so we thought we might find a carcass in the AM.

Well we did not find a carcass but we DID find wolves - the Blacktails! They came bounding out from behind some trees and entertained us for about 15 minutes. Then they disappeared, but soon we saw elk running. They split the herd but did not catch anything. They milled around a bit, then disappeared again.

The elk are much better at avoiding them these days!

Next we watched two sleeping wolves on the top of Junction Butte. We think they killed an elk in the morning but it was very close to the road, and they were quickly scared off it.

Then we headed east, arriving at Footbridge to a howling marathon. At least two wolf-voices were coming from the north and it seemed to me that there were faint answers to the south. One of the Miller wolves - from 682's group had been seen a bit earlier on the Druids' ledge trail so I suspected the howlers were from 682's group. But someone at Hitching Post spotted wolves up on Norris and when we looked, there were several big wolves up there, silhouetted on the skyline. Mollies! I saw four although others saw as many as 7. They were not looking at the howling wolves to the north but at a line of cross-country skiers heading out the Cache Creek trail.

Yellowstone Wolf and Buffalo ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

They spooked and disappeared. We went over to Hitching Post and joined the large crowd there on various snowy knolls watching the howlers. We found two - 682 and the smaller black. They howled like crazy for a half hour before finally bedding down.

Next we took a side trip in search of otters, but just missed them. On our way back west we stopped at Slough and walked out the campground road to check on a carcass we'd been told about. We found it and five coyotes but no wolves.

We ended the day watching 471 as she howled from the top of Junction Butte.

I can't believe how cold it's been! And snow is predicted for tomorrow!

Yellowstone Wolves ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

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