DAY FOUR - Monday, July 3

HELPFUL HUNTER

Iím out a little later than usual, but luckily it doesnít matter because by the time I get to Hubbard Hill, I have wolves in view. All 7 of the Junctions are visible in the exact same spot where I lost them last night. Doug found them at first light this morning. They were howling.

They howl a second time and have a nice robust rally. The move to the east a ways, with lots of flirting between 996 and the limping female, and a bit between 907 and 1048. 969 is very business-like, and has decided itís time to head uphill towards the trees. She stops a few times as if stamping her foot and trying to get her pack to follow her.

On the slope behind the carcass area is a little seep with fresh water. I see the wolves stop there to drink before they head up the hill.

The large un-collared black is the first one to go. He poses nicely for the visitors before heading out of sight into the trees. 1048 is next. He looks very healthy. Once 969 is out of sight, we notice that 907 amps up her flirting behavior, and this time she is living dangerously as she turns her attentions to injured alpha male 1047.

Doug thinks itís a hip injury, judging by the way it changes his gait. It looks really painful to me, but he just powers through it. The Limper remains with 996. She is especially loyal to him. It seems he returns her affections. This pack has no youngsters to attend to. They are free to go where-ever they please.

Finally, these three abandon the carcass and head uphill. They all stop at the spring for a drink, then continue on. 1047 is last, and beds frequently. But he makes progress around the line of trees, then beds again in the shade.

When the wolves go out of sight, I watch bison crossing the river. Their grunts can be heard echoing in the valley, with the interesting clucking sound of sand hills mixed in, too.

Some people head south to see the Wapitis but I donít think Iíll go there today. Witnessing the return of 1091 was so cool, I donít think it can be topped. Instead I drive west and scope from Slough for a bit. No wolves to see but I do love this area. I find an American Coot with 6 red-headed cootlings.

I scope from Hellroaring for a while, too but find it hazy. I discover a pair of human hikers but no wolves.

Around 10:30 I drive back east and find Laurie still there. We hang out and I do my exercises. Kathie and I decide to carpool together this evening.

We have a grizzly jam at Round Prairie and visit with John Kerr a while. Itís a mom and 2 coy. Very cute. Once we get through we stop at Picnic to look for Junctions but they are not around. We scope from Dorothy and find pronghorn with fawns.

A man with two sons tells us heís found a bison that he thinks may be dead. Heís right. Unfortunately, itís a cow, and she has a calf, which is sadly trying to nurse.

Poor thing. I donít see this ending well. Bison are not known to adopt.

We talk with the family about wolves and bison. They are from Michigan and watch wolves there sometimes, but they say itís better here!

Today I saw: 3 grizzlies (including two cubs), bison, a coot (with babies), cranes, elk, pronghorn, all 7 Junction wolves and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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