This has been a great winter season for wolf watching in Yellowstone. We saw our first wolves of the year in January and had some great trips into Parkadise. Please see our 2005 Trip Reports for details.
Spring has arrived in Yellowstone and so has bear and wolf watching in the park. We were able to see our first wolves and grizzly bear of the year on Saturday (20 Apr 2002). They were also out and seen on Sunday. We have reports posted for both days on our 2002 Trip Reports. We hope you enjoy and if you would like to add a report, just send it along. Thanks and take care!
Please see the Apr 99, May 99, and Jun 99 Trip Reports for details on wolf sightings.
16 Jan 99 - Saturday
The reports are right: the wolves have arrived at the elk refuge.
The weather was snowing and blowing with low visibility until about 8:30 am. Straight across from the wildlife museum we located six wolves (two black and four gray) laying around what appeared to be a late night or early morning kill. The Soda Butte Pack. Three coyotes were already on the carcass with all six wolves laying within what appeared to be 50 to 100 yards. The coyotes appeared fearless. Two coyotes walked past the two black wolves who chased them intently for several hundred yards, the coyotes remained on the carcass. After a little while, the wolves got up and moved back and eventually over "Miller's Butte." One of the gray wolves is definitely limping around pretty good. It was hopping and always seemed to be behind the rest. The rest of Saturday was low visibility and blowing snow. It cleared up around 3:00 pm until dark but we could not relocate any of the pack.
17 Jan 99 - Sunday
The day started out clear. We located what appeared to be five wolves (two black and three gray) about four miles north and east for Saturday's carcass. When we located them they were again laying down near another carcass. The coyotes and ravens appeared to own the carcass and the wolves soon began to move straight east for the hills. This sighting was a long one, if it wasn't for the ravens and the two black wolves I wouldn't have been able to located them.
In other news, only 4,000 elk are down on the refuge now mainly because of the lack of snow I guess. Very little to no snow on the refuge.
The swans are at Flat Creek just outside of Jackson (at least two different pairs).
There are 8 to 9 bighorn rams on Miller's Butte on the east side (on the old dirt road where the elk rides use to originate).
Quite a few wolf watchers on the roads and in the parking lot of the museum. Still a problem of misidentification of coyotes as wolves by some of the watchers. I didn't hear of any sightings of the Jackson Trio or the Teton Duo.
Thanks Bill, great report!
Wolf viewing has been exceptional lately. We are seeing the Druid Peak and Rose Creek wolves often. The weather has been warm and snowy. The blanket of snow is getting noticeably more heavy. Lots of elk and bison down in the valleys.
The Rose throng have been chasing and playing as they roam the landscape. Their many members, I counted 20 of a known 22 yesterday, are a true spectacle of force. Two big bull elk had courage to stand off 4 wolves for awhile, but the attackers kept coming and soon they were running from a dozen or more. After harassing the elk on the slope the pack dropped down to the river and chased bison along the flats. When they were done, they walked back up the slope and chased the elk some more. Nothing came of their chases, at least for the time. In that I mean the elk looked pretty tired holding their mouths open after their escape. Didn't seem to tire the pack much. The restless crew did not settle down. While some members found beds atop the little points on the slope, it only seemed for a breather, as others one by one pressed on. I remember them ascending a steep slope walking nose-to-tail in a line of 16. Eventually they passed over a forested saddle and disappeared along the ridge.
The Rose Pack seem to be active later in the morning than Druid lately, making a double feature possible the last two days. In the early morning the Druid Pack, spread out throughout the valley, howled themselves together as a group for a nap in the trees. They left a young bull dead in its tracks just off the road. A little further away would have been better for everyone, I think. This carcass will be eaten mostly in the dark.
All the wolves are looking quite good. I got a good look at Rose Creek Alpha Male, 08M, he was playing king of the hill; Alpha Female, 09F, as dark and silvery (not white in that particular light); 53F,"chow" with the big lion's mane; and also 18F who had been mysteriously black and usually only identifiable from behavior, but now has got a distinct gray muzzle and neck patch. I have enjoyed the Druid pup lately, he has and will continue to have an adventurous nature.
All this good wolf stuff, but for me the last 2 days' best memory was otters diving for fish on the Lamar. There were three tracking up their slides along the icy river's edge. Diving for 30 seconds a crack in the big pool where Soda Butte Creek enters.
Great report Nathan! Wolftracker.
31 Oct 98 - Saturday
At daylight the Druid Peak Pack was moving west from Lamar Valley across Jasper Ridge into the area south of the Slough Creek Campground road. We were finally able to visually spotted them on top a fairly clear ridge above Crystal Creek. They were bedded down and we were entertained to howling every ten to fifteen minutes for over a hour. Only one or two wolves were visible at a time. As luck would have it the pack bedded behind a large tree.
Around 9:00 am the telemetry plane circled over the pack as the pack moved slowly out into the clearing. All eight wolves of the pack were out for a few minutes before disappearing over the ridge and eventually back into Lamar. They were not seen again that day.
01 Nov 98 - Sunday
Telemetry signals indicated that both the Druid Peak and Rose Creek Packs (or at least some the of the members) were in the area. The Druid Peak Pack appeared to be over Specimen Ridge as signals were picked up at Tower Junction but not in either Lamar or the Little America area. I never spotted them on Sunday.
The Rose Creek Pack was picked up from the Hellroaring overlook area. After about 45 minutes of glassing, Dan and Margene from Island Park, Idaho, located them. At first there was one black wolf. As we continued to observe, eventually fourteen wolves were located - nine black and five gray. Several of the wolves were identified, including 9F the alpha female and 8M the gray alpha male. As the wolves slowly moved south east, we were able to watch them for over an hour.
The color on number 9F has certainly changed from her almost totally black appearance in 1995 and 1996. Now only her tail and back end is dark. The rest of her body is gray and her shoulders and back are almost white. She reminds me of a silver fox when she is coming directly towards you.
On the way out of Lamar Valley and the park, I ran into Frank and Lennis Butler from Shelley, Idaho at about 10:30 am. I was sure they were too late to do a lot of spotting. Frank called me on Tuesday (03 Nov 98). They saw two black wolves of the Rose Creek Pack at the Junction Butte area . They also discovered a grizzly turning rocks and grubbing south of Slough Creek Campground road. A little while later they observed all eight of the Druid Peak Pack on top of a ridge near Specimen Ridge. The grizzly and Druid Peak Pack were out for three hours or so. A great weekend for bear and wolf watching in the park. Can't wait until the west road opens in mid April.
Thanks Bill, a great report and see you in the park next spring. Take care!
Also see the Oct 98 Trip Report for sighting info on 02 - 04 Oct 98.
19 Sep 98 - Saturday
After searching all day, I finally found a black wolf east and south of the Lamar Picnic area at 7:00 p.m. It was laying down but stood up just I glassed the area. After about 15 minutes it got up and moved towards us coming within a couple hundred yards of the river. It moved west up the valley and when we moved west up the road we discovered that it had joined a gray collared wolf. They greeted and moved back east as darkness came about 7:35 pm.
20 Sep 98 - Sunday
Around 7:15 am I pulled over at the geological turnout just east of the Lamar Picnic area. Everyone was looking up the hill to the north. Apparently one black wolf was howling to three wolves (one black and two gray) across the road and river south of the turnout. I never saw the black wolf north of the road; but as they moved east towards the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek they came within a few hundred yards of the road. I moved down to the Footbridge pullout and in about 10 minutes all four wolves moved west to east in front of us. They disappeared into the trees on the first bench and reappeared in the clearings just south of the Soda Butte. It was quite a good sighting -- it lasted about 45 minutes and covered about three miles. Quite a few people got to see them. Some of the people had seen them on Friday and Saturday. For others it was their first wolf sighting.
No bear sightings at all for the weekend. Jim Hamilton from Cody saw a grizzly in Alum Creek Friday evening. It turned cool up in Yellowstone. Cooke City got about an inch of snow and Dunraven got a slight coat. Most the crowds are over in the Madison, Norris and Mammoth areas as the bull elk have gathered the cows into the harems.
See the Sep Trip Report for our Labor Day Report.
29 Aug 98 - Saturday
Around 6:30 am from the road just west of the Lamar picnic area, I glassing the Sagebrush across the Lamar River. Immediately four dark wolves were observed milling around in the sagebrush - the Druid Peak Pack. As we continued to scan the valley, a total of nine wolves were observed (only the black 1998 pup was not present).
Around 7:00 am they moved west and encountered a large herd of bison. For about ten minutes they circled and tested the herd and single bison on the edges of the herd. Most times, the single bison rejoined the herd or the herd came to the aid of the surrounded bison. The wolves never were a serious threat and never even bit at the bison.
The pack moved back east and bedded down until about 9:30 am when they started moving east and back into the trees.
Saturday night there were no wolves to be found.
30 Aug 98 - Sunday
Sunday morning around 7:30 am, a lone black wolf was observed from coyote (Dorothy's hill) overlook. It was identified as 105F. It was coming down towards the Lamar River apparently intent on visiting a bison carcass.
The bison carcass was on this side (north) of the river in some gravel. A grizzly was on the kill Saturday morning and night and earlier Sunday morning. 105F never made it to the kill, it stopped about 250 yards above the river and looked at the road and our way for about 10 minutes and they proceeded back west on the bench. We lost it on the bench.
It appears that the black 1998 pup has not been observed since the Druid Peak Pack returned to the Lamar on Thursday. The observation Saturday was pretty clear as they moved back and forth at the picnic area - and only nine wolves were spotted.
Good news, Dunraven pass opened Friday at 5:00 pm, making access to Lamar a lot easier. The park service really did a great job fixing the road - all the bad spots were repaved.
by Joseph and John Uhler
Friday - 21 Aug 1998
Please see the Aug Trip Report for 21 / 22 Aug sightings of the Druid Peak Pack.
Tuesday - 18 Aug 1998
At 1:30 pm, four wolves (one gray and three black) were observed south of the Lamar Ranger Station and traveled east below the Lamar Picnic Area. This was more than likely the Druid Peak Pack and is the first sighting of them for a while. This is great news!
See the July 98 Trip Report for 16 - 19 July Wolf Sightings by John W. Uhler
Saturday - 11 July 1998
At daylight at the Lamar River Trailhead the wolves of the Druid Peak Pack were howling from two different directions: from the densite area north of the road and to the east and south of Soda Butte. I ran into Rick McIntyre who told me that the pack had moved across the road - about directed east of the Soda Butte Cone. As soon as it was light we had at least one wolf on the first bench above the river. As it got lighter and later; we eventually saw seven of the eight adults and both 1998 pups (one black and one light gray). They played and gathered several times before laying down in the high grass. They eventually moved into the timber for the remainder of the day.
We finally located the source of the howling north of the road - wolf 103 F, a yearling was alone near the densite. Rick said she had been gone for a few days from the pack and apparently returned to the densite, unaware that the pack had moved. Around 7:00 am, 104 M and an uncollared yearling moved right in front of the trailhead and went up Cache Creek for the day.
Around dark we observed one wolf return from Cache Creek and one in the new rendevous area south of the Soda Butte Cone
Sunday - 12 July 98
At daylight Chris from Utah and Ralph from Billings located what turned out to be two yearlings (103 F and an uncollared wolf and both pups). They were on the bench across the river from the Soda Butte Cone. These observations were from the Lamar River Trailhead. Although the area near the Soda Butte Cone is closer, the lay of the land made the sightings better from the trailhead. It surely appears that Druid Peak Pack only has two 1998 pups. I hope they stay in this new area. Lots of timber and cover but occasionally some pretty good views of the pack.
27 Jun 98 - Saturday
At about 5:45 am, from the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek, I observed two black wolves chasing elk. They soon disappeared behind a ridge. At about 7:30 am, seven wolves (Druid Peak Pack) were observed from the confluence moving west across the river. They moved up to just east of the Lamar Picnic area and bedded down. I later learned that only 104M was missing from the pack. At about noon they moved east and hunted a group of antelope with fawns. They bedded down again in the high sagebrush. At 1:00 pm, they were up and moving west again.
The Coyote researchers just west of the Lamar picnic area were attempting to tag / collar the coyote pups that have a den near the picnic area. After the wolves spotted the horses in the tree line, they quickly retreated into the forest. I spent Saturday night at Antelope Creek watching four grizzlies but heard that around dark all seven wolves were again seen and moved west to across from the Yellowstone Institute / Lamar Ranger Station. Still no reported sightings for 1998 pups in the Druid Pack yet. I would expect sightings any day now. Last year the first sightings of the Druid pups was around June 24th.
See the Wolf News for pup and pack information.
08 May 98 - Friday
We had a GREAT trip to the Park last Friday and Saturday. We got into Lamar Valley around 6:30 pm and pulled over, West of the Institute, where a large group of people were looking South across the valley. When we pulled over, Jo spotted a Grizzly in the tree line. After awhile, the other people started to put their stuff away and a guy came over to ask if we had seen the bear. Jo told him that she was looking at the bear right now. He asked to see it, and it turned out that we were looking at a different bear. So everyone started to set up again. We watched for about 45 minutes and then went further into the valley.
We ended up spending the rest of the evening watching three black wolves and one gray (almost white) wolf (Druid Peak Pack) Southeast of the Lamar picnic area. I got videos of them, but there wasn't much action. They started to stalk a herd of elk, but after the elk ran off, they laid down and stayed in the same area until after dark. The biggest thrill came when I watched (through the spotting scope) one of the black wolves lift its head and howl! What a treat! That's the first time we were certain that we had heard a wolf! That alone made the trip worthwhile!
I only regret that I didn't get a video of it. We then watched a herd of buffalo with the night binocs and the calves just had a ball! They sprinted and kicked up their heels all around the herd.
09 May 98 - Saturday
Saturday morning, we walked out of our cabin and heard some honking. We looked up and saw a pair of trumpeter swans flying a few hundred feet above Mammoth. Boy, do they have a large wing span! That's the first time we've seen them in flight.
We began driving back to Lamar Valley around 10:30 am (early!!) On our way, just before the Blacktail Trail turn-off, we watched a Golden Eagle gain altitude in a thermal updraft. We ran into Bill Hamblin in Lamar Valley. He said that he had seen the Druid Peak Pack that morning. We spent most of the rest of the day looking for bears and watching the buffalo and elk. I got about 30 minutes video of the bison calves running and playing all over the place. In fact, I taped two that kept butting their heads together and an adult had to keep breaking them up. The calves were really feisty! Around 6:30 pm, we stopped about a mile West of Slough Creek and watched a Grizzly Sow and her two cubs grazing on Specimen Ridge. They were rather large cubs, so they must have been born last year. Getting late, we headed back to Idaho Falls. About eight miles South of Mammoth, we saw a moose.
By this time the rains had started. We were really lucky weather-wise. It was perfectly clear out Friday evening with very light wind and Saturday was partly cloudy. We never got a drop of rain while in Lamar Valley!
25 Apr 98 - Saturday
The Druid Peak Pack was visible both on Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Saturday morning, three dark wolves were on a kill south for the footbridge turnout near where the trail goes up the first rise above the Lamar (near Soda Butte in Lamar Valley). One of the dark wolves crossed between the footbridge and the horse corral turnout.
26 Apr 98 - Sunday
On Sunday morning, several wolves were on the old kill early and 40F crossed the road back to the den area. We then noticed a fresh kill quite a ways up Norris mountain. Three dark and a gray wolf were still eating on it when I left around 8:30 am. Speculation is that 9F and 18F of the Rose Creek Pack have denned together - the same den. It is also assumed that both 40F and 42F from Druid have pups. One of them, always stays at the den when the pack hunts.
We made an extended weekend trip to the park on 16 - 19 April 98. We saw three wolves of the Rose Creek Pack on Saturday morning just west of Slough Creek. For a detailed report, please see the April Trip Report for the latest sighting information.
April 10 - Fri
I got a good look at 104M from the Druid Peak Pack. It's easy to see why this wolf is a new favorite with a lot of the wolf watchers. He is a dark pup weighting over 100 pounds and has a white patch on His neck. He was visible for about 20 minutes around 10:00 am at the far East end of the Soda Butte clearing. He wasn't over 150 to 200 yards from the road for 10 to 15 minutes. Apparently he had just returned from a trip outside the park.
April 11 - Sat
During that night the Druid Peak Pack killed an adult elk about 300 - 400 yards from the foot bridge turnout near the 1997 denning area. At dawn only one gray wolf was near the carcass which was about half consumed. As this gray collared wolf moved towards the trees to bed down--she laid down near another wolf. (Later the biologists told us that they were 106F and 107 of the Druid Peak Pack). About 8:00 am a dark wolf appeared near the carcass (21M the alpha male according to the biologists). He soon disappeared. But the two grays bedded down in sight in front of the trees and remained there until around noon when they moved into the trees. The collared gray returned once to the carcass.
When the carcass was left alone; three coyotes, a golden eagle, a bald eagle and lots of ravens pretty much disposed of the carcass.
Apparently the Druid Peak Pack has returned to the 1997 denning site and remained there for a few days. They seem to return to the area after each hunt. Hopefully 42F and/or 40F are thinking of denning.
Thanks for a great report Bill!
21 Feb 98 - Saturday
We had a great trip. We got out to Lamar Valley Saturday afternoon and slowly made our way towards Soda Butte. The roads were clear and dry except for icy patches in the shadows. There was about a foot of snow on the ground with few of the pull offs plowed out. When you had to stop, you had to just pull over as far as you could and stop. That wasn�t too much of a problem since there wasn�t much traffic on the road. We saw a lot of elk and a few coyotes while driving through the valley. There were surprisingly few buffaloes. We found about five cars and trucks pulled off the road about .25 mile west of Soda Butte. We pulled over and asked the people what was going on. They said there was an elk kill up on a high ridge that the Druid Peak Pack had been feeding on. About ten minutes after we arrived the wolves showed up and started feeding on the kill.
The kill was about .25 mile off the road on the north side on the top of a ridge. You could clearly see the carcass and the wolves feeding on it. We had great views of them with my 80 mm scope and my new eight inch scope. You could see them tearing big pieces of meat from the carcass. You could also see the social order with the dominant wolves feeding first while driving off the other wolves. You could see the poor omega wolf sitting on his haunches about ten feet back from the kill. We watched the wolves feeding for about 45 minutes. I shot a whole roll of film through my new scope and let everyone who was along side the road look through the scopes.
One couple that was looking through the scopes thought they saw the white wolf #39 but Joanell and I didn�t think so. They thought the omega wolf was #107. He was the last one to get to feed. Then they wandered back over the ridge and we lost sight of them. There was a total of seven wolves and we watched them from approximately 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm. It was almost dark by then so we started making our way back to town. We stopped and took some great pictures of some big horn sheep grazing on the side of a hill about 200 yards east of the confluence of Lamar and Soda Butte. We had dinner at Helen�s Saturday night.
See Richard's and Joanell's Winter 98 Trip Report for more details.
Steve reported: that on 07 Feb 98 - Saturday, the Druid Peak Pack was on top of Norris Mountain today - at the peak. Norris Mountain is in Lamar Valley and just east of the Soda Butte area in the northeast corner of Yellowstone. I can not believe how high the animals are. However, lots of coyotes in the valley. Bob Crabtree of Yellowstone Ecosystem Studies (YES) was theorizing to me that the coyotes are visible because the wolves are not on the valley floor now. One additional sighting of a young golden eagle near Mammoth.
I am in Yellowstone now, as of this morning 06 Feb 98, seven wolves of the Druid Peak Pack were visible on Mt. Norris at dawn. Telemetry signals could not be picked up by the Wolf Project staff from the Rose Creek or Leopold Packs. Also, there is a fresh kill 30 yards off the road near the Institute / Ranger Station in Lamar. I could not believe the number of coyotes today - singles and coyote packs in all directions. We also observed great interactions with five coyotes arguing over a front leg from the carcass. The end result was the dominant animal eating the leg 40 yards from our car.
Thousands of elk were in view. Almost all animals appeared to be in good condition and to still have a lot of fat. Two bighorn sheep were on the cliffs by the confluence of Lamar and Soda Butte. One of them has the longest horns I have seen with more than a full curl - almost a one and a half.
Only about two hundred bison were seen in small scattered groups. No eagles or raptors were spotted in Lamar. But many mature bald eagles were seen along the Yellowstone River along highway 89 on 05 Feb 98.
Fresh scene was seen of moose near Cooke City but no animals were spotted.
All roads were in excellent condition. There is patchy ice in shady areas along the park road to Cooke City from Mammoth. However, snow expected tonight could rapidly change conditions.
Tomorrow we are going snowshoeing to look for wolf tracks. Snow conditions appear to be excellent for skiing and snowshoeing. However, the coyotes today had obvious trouble walking on the surface and frequently broke through the crust.
16 Oct 97 - I got into the park on Thursday about 2:00 p.m. The road from Madison to Old Faithful is closed for the year. The road from Canyon to Tower is also closed (I guess for the Year). All the roads but the North Entrance will close on 02 Nov 97. Thursday evening I saw three different grizzlies in Lamar Valley. Two from the Buffalo Ranch / Ranger Station and one from Coyote overlook. All were very high up on the ridges to the south. I ran Into Rick McIntrye who had all ten of the Druid Peak Pack just west of the Lamar Picnic area in the high sagebrush (note 39F was not with them - apparently 40F the alpha female and 42F are driving her out).
17 Oct 97 - Friday morning the wolves (Druid Peak Pack) had made a kill during the night one half mile east of the Soda Butte Cone. We saw at least seven of the wolves ( Rick said three pups and 39F were missing). The wolves moved into the tree line above Soda Butte and we never saw them again. Friends checked the kill later and it was an elk calf.
I saw four grizzlies on Friday - all in Lamar Valley. Two individuals south of the Buffalo Ranch / Ranger Station and two sub adults together on Norris Peak high above Soda Butte.
18 Oct 97 - On Saturday, the wolves (Druid Peak Pack) were in the sagebrush just east of the Lamar picnic area at first light. After about one half hour of watching them, about four different wolves bedded down we noticed that 39F was no more than 300 yards above and behind us. We moved and about fifteen minutes later, she moved southeast and out of site. The wolves remained bedded down in the sagebrush. At night we saw that there was at least seven wolves there.
About 6:00 pm, I moved down to Coyote overlook and found a lone grizzly high southwest of the Buffalo Ranch / Ranger Station.
19 Oct 97 - Sunday morning the Druid Peak Pack was south and east of the Buffalo Ranch / Ranger Station best viewed from the rise between the Ranger Station and the Lamar picnic area.
We saw at least seven of the wolves laying on the first bench above the river. We assumed they had a kill close by. A friend spotted at least one pup in the sagebrush east of the Lamar picnic area. The elk were down on the valley floor about a week ago, the snow had pushed them down, but now have moved back up. It appears that the grizzlies have been finding the wolves kills as several people were seeing them on the same kills. The kill Friday morning east of Soda Butte had a bear on it by Saturday.
Great report Bill! Sure wish I would of been there with you! Thanks tons! - John
Also check out the Oct 97 Trip Report for more information.
I am here in Yellowstone (have been for a week now), and here is my update. We saw wolves last night - 27 Sep 97 - around 7:00 pm in Lamar Valley with the help of Ranger Rick. There were 4 (1 black and 3 grays) including the alpha female of the Druid Peak Pack. Also saw a black wolf in Lamar a few days earlier, also a large black bear by a pond between Tower Falls and the Junction.
Lots of buffalo in Hayden Valley. Lots of elk driving up from Canyon. The weather has been anything from rain and snow to warm sunny days. I have additional pictures of this trip at "http://www.twosocks.com/trip.htm". What a trip this has been, Giant in the morning and wolves in the same evening. WOW! We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn the whole trip. Don't forget to check out Ranger Ricks book "Society of Wolves".
Giant Geyser went off yesterday (27 Sep 97) and I have a page where I uploaded 5 pictures for viewing pleasure at "http://www.twosocks.com/giant.htm".
I just returned from a week in the park and want to thank you for your tips on the Lamar Valley and wolf spotting. At dusk on Monday, 22 Sep 97, we were fortunate enough to observe all 11 of the Druid Peak pack (5 - black, 6 - gray/white) awake from their days rest, greet each other and start off on their night hunt. This observation was from the hill on the north side of the loop road just east of the foliage observation fencing that is about a mile east of the Lamar Ranger Station. There was a small group present and we were all thrilled when they stayed within view on their jaunt east in the valley. The entire viewing event lasted ABOUT AN HOUR!
We arrived on the hill about 5:30 pm and began scanning. Just to the left of the double trunked aspen that's by itself in the center of the south valley and to the rear of the first section of sage (there are two) that covers the valley's floor there is a small berm about 15 feet long. Some black ears were noticed in front of this berm with my spotting scope. After some time these black ears turned into a head as the sun got lower and the wolf stirred. Other members of the pack were noticed in the same area slowly waking and shaking out their days sleep. First a gray/white and then another and another black was seen. By 6:10 pm it was clear, we had a good number of the pack. Around 6:30 pm, as the sun went just below the mountains, the gray/white (female alpha from what I could gather) wolf stirred from in front of the berm as she had gone unnoticed by staying very low. As she shook out and stretched out all the other members of the pack awoke and came over to greet her (all 10!)!
A few of the five black wolves were extremely playful running and nipping at the older members (gray's) of the pack as they just sat greeting the new night. The white/gray wolf then started moving east in the valley. All followed.
They moved toward us (northeast) and then into the Lamar River depression. Some were out of view for short periods of time as they moved through the ridges of the depression. They emerged from the river, again with the white leading the way, and continued moving east and now moving toward the forest line at the south side of the valley. Darkness fell as they moved out of range and we ran out of light.
It was noted that a large herd of bison and a smaller herd of elk were east in the valley. Both herds had young. We were unable to determine if a kill was made on these herds. We did come back early, first thing in the morning, but nothing was seen.
14 Sept 1997 - around 2:00 pm
We watched 3 wolves (2 black and 1 gray) for more than half an hour from the side of the road near Swan Lake, between Mammoth and Norris Junction. It was thrilling beyond belief! They ran and played through the trees along the far side of the lake, then finally disappeared over the ridge and out of view. There was a small group of cars pulled off on the side of the road watching the whole time with binoculars, spotting scopes and the like.
Reported by Bill Hamblin - three wolves all gray (probably from the Druid Peak Pack) were seen on Tuesday, 09 Sep 97 from the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek in Lamar Valley.
The Druid Peak Pack has continued to be active and seen by Yellowstone visitors during the month of Jul. They have been visible mostly in early morning and evening in Lamar Valley around the Soda Butte area. About three weeks ago, five of the pack were watched killing a badger, just to keep up their public image as the pack from hell.
25 Jul 97 - Friday
We did not find any wildlife watchers until we came to the Soda Butte area. We arrived a little before 8:30 pm, Range Rick and fellow wildlife watchers were at the turnout. Jacob and I went up and talked to Rick about what was going on. Apparently two of the Druid Peak Pack had just come down the valley and they were trying to spot them. Jacob saw female wolf # 40 just as she was starting to head for cover of a close by ridge. It was his first wolf spotting in Yellowstone and he was excited. That was the only wolf we saw as we had either missed the other wolf or he had disappeared before we had arrived. We stayed and watched and hoped to see some more of the pack or hear them howl, to no avail. We stayed until past 9:00 pm and then headed to Slough Creek for the night.
26 Jul 97 - Saturday
We were up at 5:00 am and headed for the turnout that is just east of the large turnout for outfitters or anyone going into the backcountry with horses. Some of the folks we were watching with the evening before were there or arrived shortly after we had. We were all hopeful for another chance to see the wolves. The rain from the day before had made conditions such that the valley had sporadic fog in different areas, and as fate would have it, our area was one of the few areas covered. Nine of the Druid Peak Pack were sighted out on a flat area in the valley, six adults and three pups. Rick had the telemetry gear and a visual sighting from his vantage spot up on the hillside. We could see where they were looking, but the fog had drifted over the area the wolves were in, so we, from our location, could not see nothing. We could just point and say the wolves were right there in the fog.... so goes a day in the lives of some wildlife watchers. We were treated to a rare fogbow (a totally white rainbow made from the mist of the fog) that covered our area. No one in the group had seen one before, it was unusual and I hope the pictures of it come out. We stayed and watched and hoped and chatted until around 9:00 am or so and then headed down the valley west looking for some griz or any other wildlife in the area.
27 Jul 97 - Sunday
The alarm rang early at 5:00 am and we dressed in anticipation of another day's possibilities. We arrived to a beautiful sunrise in Lamar. We trained or scopes and binocs on the valley and covered every hillside and meadow looking for our friends the wolves and the griz. Ranger Rick was again posted on the hillside with telemetry in hand. We watch the area and Rick to see which direction he was pointing the antenna, we took our cues from him as well as checking all the different avenues of approach. At 6:15 am the pack north of us at their den site howled. Everyone hushed and strained their ears to take in the music of the wolves. We were thrilled! They again howled at 6:25, 6:40 and 6:50 am. The last howl at 6:50 was a very faint long low howl that was eerie and beautiful. It was the last sound we heard from the pack. The telemetry indicated that # 39 was babysitting the pups in the den and that the rest of the pack were out gathering food.
We returned on Monday from our quick trip to Yellowstone. We left from Portland, OR on Thursday 6/11 and returned on Monday 6/16. A quick trip but well worth it.
We saw alot of the Druid Peak wolf pack. There was a moose carcass fairly close to the road (probably 100 yards) about a half mile east of Soda Butte.
Each evening and morning the pack would come down to the carcass, usually individually. They were very skittish however due to the proximity to the road. They attracted quite a crowd as you can imagine and they didn't show themselves for long. They did howl several times as it got dark and it was an incredible sound.
One morning I watched the Druid Peak move through the valley for several miles going east to west. There were four wolves, a black and 3 grays, including the alpha female, according to Rick McIntyre. As they would move out of sight we would all drive west until we picked them up again. They were not aggressively hunting although they did come out of the trees at one point with an elk calf. They did not harass any of the elk that were in the meadows along their path. It was incredible to watch the elk go from their lazy grazing mode to full attention as the pack moved into their scent range.
Watching the cows herding the calves, in a half panicked way was also interesting.
A great trip overall. Thanks again for the trip reports. Interesting that there was very little going on at Slough Creek while we were there. The only wildlife was mosquitoes. Met some nice people. Heard some great stories about the Rose Creek Pack fighting the Druid Creek pack last year at Slough Creek. You never know what you are going to see next.
Thanks again. This will be my only trip this year. Saw a lot more but don't want to bore you. Keep up the good work!
We went back to Mammoth for a short break and then headed to Lamar Valley. Just east of the Yellowstone Picnic area, a large black bear was up on the south hillside. We watched it for a while, and then it came down, crossed the road right in front of us and walked across the meadow and up the hillside. When the black bear was about out of sight, we headed on our way down the road towards Lamar. We did not see any activity at Slough Creek so we continued on our way. We talked with fellow spotters and there was very little activity. We then heard a report that the Druid Peak Pack was out and hunting. We went down to the picnic grounds and just missed the pack, we headed up the valley (west) and just missed the pack at each turnout except the last. We were all hopeful and finally they showed up and chased an elk herd all over the hillside behind us. They finally chased some elk over the ridge and disappeared. What a day! A day of days for me and others I am sure! We headed back to Mammoth to hit the sack.
03 Jun 97 - Tue
Joseph and I were up early and headed out to Lamar. We stopped at Slough Creek and watched three grizzly bears with Rick MacIntire and about 6:30 am one of the black wolves of the Rose Creek Pack showed up and made his way to the elk kill and fed for awhile. Rick said that he felt the wolf would feed for a while and then go back to the den to provide breakfast for the pups.
04 Jun 97 - Wed
There was very little wildlife activity while we were sharing stories and killing skeeters. A bumper crop of skeeters this year with all the water. Just before sunset, Tom from Maryland noticed a black wolf along Slough Creek on the opposite side of the valley. We were able to watch him for about 2 or 3 minutes before he disappeared behind a hill. We watch the elk nervously walking and running along the creek, but the sun set and we all headed for our places of abode.
05 Jun 97 - Thu
We were up at 5:00 am and out at 5:30 am. We stopped at Slough Creek at 6:15 am and saw one black wolf from the Rose Creek Pack and a sow grizzly and two cubs feeding on a kill. We also saw in one large tree by the creek side, two balk eagles and two red tail hawks.
See the Jun 97 Trip Report for more details.
10 May 97 - Saturday by John W. Uhler
We were up at 5:00 am and by 5:30 am we were on the road headed for Lamar Valley. We stopped at the turnout just past the Specimen Ridge Trail sign and did some glassing for the Rose Creek pack. This is the turnout where we had watched them on our April trip. We saw very few wildlife on the ridge. A few elk were down low on the mountainside grazing contentedly, so we decided to move down the valley.
We pulled into a turnout about a mile east of the Lamar River bridge and joined a group who had spotted some wolves. We watched the alpha female (#9) of the Rose Creek Pack as she lay near some rocks in a small clearing. As we watched her, three of her pups (two black and a gray) came out and played! We were thrilled. These are the first pups I, my wife Carlene and others among us had ever seen. It was great! As we were watching, to our surprise, the alpha male (#8) stood up and stretched and posed for us. He is a gray wolf and blended in so well with the rocks and terrain, that we didn't even know he was in the clearing until he stood up. This all happened around 6:30 am and we watched them play and run back into the trees and appear and disappear on and off until about 9:30 am when they disappeared into the forest. This was a first and very exciting experience for all those who were there to share it.
We then headed down into Lamar for some more wildlife watching. We stopped at a couple turnouts and watched the elk and buffalo and antelope along the road. Then a lone wolf appeared and slowly made his way through the buffalo and elk herds that were grazing in Lamar. He got fairly close to the animals and they charged him and ran him off. He walked up to a buffalo that was lying down. As he got close the buffalo stood up, lowered his head and ran him off. This wolf was called both number 38 and 31. Wolf number 38 is the alpha male of the Druid Peak Pack and number 31 is a lone wolf. I tend to feel that it was 31 as it was a lone wolf and he did bring down a cow elk by himself. Also, the Druid Peak Pack normally hunts as a pack, but this is my own personal feeling after listening to both points of view. Either way, he was a lone wolf and did take down a cow elk.
We arrived about 8:00 pm at the turnout where we had watched the wolves earlier. The wolves had been in and out of view for a while before we arrived. The griz had also shown up for a little while and then disappeared behind a hillside. The female and two pups came out and we watched them play and interact. They went back in and most of the crowd began to leave. There were a few of us that stayed on and just chatted about wildlife, Yellowstone and life. We had a great time. As we were visiting, the griz reappeared walking down the hillside towards us, he was quite a ways off, but we could see him without the binocs or spotting scopes. He walked down to an elk kill and began to feed. We watched in awe as he was a beautiful bear. He sat, and laid down and just moved around the kill while we and the ravens watched on.
When he had finished feeding, he slowly walked down the hillside parallel to us and disappeared in a gully. We were thrilled and captivated. We again began to visit as the sun was setting and dark was surrounding us, and discussing our good fortune of the day when to our utter surprise and joy the wolves howled.... what a thrill, talk about something that just made your hair stand on end and goose bumps. They then barked and then one more deep group howl and it was over... I thought I had died and gone to heaven. This was another first and one of my fondest desires, to hear the wolves howl. What a day! I will never forget this day and the experiences we had and shared with some great great friends!
11 May 97 - Sunday
We were up at 6:00 am and off to Lamar. We went directly to the turnout by the Rose Creek den and had just missed the griz as he had come back and fed at the kill. The alpha female was again lying near some rocks below the tree line. We watched her and the pups play, we counted six pups. We shared our spotting scope with anyone who was there and wanted to get a good view of the wolf and pups. It was cool. We met some more friends and just had a blast visiting together.
4/25 PM: Arrived in the Soda Butte area (on the turnout just past horse area) where the Druid Pack had been seen in the AM that day. The wolf project people had their tracking devices out and got several signals toward the south, however, we had no sightings.
4/26 AM: Again the wolf project people had faint signals in the same area as last night. No wolves were spotted. On my way back west, we spotted two grizzly bears almost opposite the Institute halfway up the hill and climbing. They looked about 2 or 3 years old. There were also some faint signals just south of the Slough Creek turnout. Again no wolves spotted.
4/26 PM: Was told by a friend on the wolf project to try a turnout almost exactly 4 miles from Tower Junction, looking in a southerly direction. At 7:42 we spotted one gray and one black wolf headed in toward the east. They then moved up the hill and into the forest. Prior to and after the sighting, there was single and multiple wolf vocalization which seemed to be coming from the center of the trees near where the wolves had disappeared.
4/27 AM: Back at the same location. At 8:39 two black wolves appeared in the same general area as the evening before moving east again. One of the blacks appeared to scent mark and both wolves played together for about five minutes and disappeared in the same area as before.
4/27 PM: Same area - At 6:46 PM three elk in front of the trees where the wolves had disappeared this AM suddenly turned their heads toward the trees. I followed their glance and saw one black wolf moving slowly toward them. He suddenly stopped and went into a semi-crouching position and locked eyes with the elk. For about 15 seconds they looked at each other. Then the wolf raised up to a normal standing position and turned his head and walked away. The elk continued walking in the opposite direction and neither one looked back at each other. A second black wolf appeared near the trees and joined the first and then both walked back into the trees once again.
On Saturday, 08 Feb 1997 at about 2:30 pm, all five wolves of the Druid Peak Pack were spotted (two blacks and three grays). The pack was sleeping on the south side of the road to Silver Gate (Northeast entrance road), just east of the horse trail parking area before you get to Soda Butte. They were up above the rock cliffs at the edge of the timber enjoying the sun. After arising from their nap (about 20 - 30 minutes from when they were first spotted), they proceeded to follow the rock face up to the right until they reached the very top of the mountain. At this point they induced four bighorn sheep to run down the mountain and escape. It was also reported that several individuals observed the alpha male breeding one of the black females. Maybe, hopefully there will be pups this Spring! That would be exciting! The pack was in sight for about 2.5 hours - until approximately 5:00 pm. Thank you Jack for this report!
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