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Aug. 26, 2020

Lone Wolves

This was our first full day at Yellowstone. We entered the west entrance of the park with plans to hike our way to Mystic Falls (which is part of the Little Firehole River) and up to the overlook. As we came to Madison Junction, we were greeted by a good amount of traffic with folks pulling off to see some wildlife. We were lucky to be able to snag a parking spot and walked over to a lookout for the Gibbon River.

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In the meadow near a bend in the river, there were two gray wolves that were protecting a recent kill. We heard from other on-lookers that we just missed the wolves run off a coyote that was trying to get in on the kill. We weren’t able to see the coyote but the wolves were definitely still alert and being aggressive.

We weren’t able to see the elk that they killed either (it was too far down the bank of the river), but later I would learn from one of the employees at the Yellowstone Camera Store that the kill was witnessed and there were people watching/tracking the wolves as they stalked their prey.

The wolves we saw are considered lone wolves that are not part of a larger pack. It was told that they had been stalking the elk for a few days waiting for their opportunity. They chased and cornered the elk down into the river where they ultimately held it down in the water to drown. They were there feeding for another day or so but by the third day they had moved on and the kill was gone.

Some of the other photographers at the lookout were hoping for a grizzly bear to come down to take over the kill. Unfortunately, that never happened. But I am sure that would have been a sight to see!

After getting some photographs of the wolves, we moved along to our hike. That turned out to be a GREAT time!


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