2023 FALL-WINTER WOLF STUDY TRIP - November 28-December 9


I try to visit the Park during the “Wolf Study”, which happens twice a year for 30 days. It includes daily, dawn-to-dusk observation (if possible), plane flyovers (for location confirmation and counting) plus in the field carcass visits.

This year’s early winter wolf study started November 15 and will go through December 14. There is one crew for Rescue Creek and one for Junction.


This pack has lost quite a few members this fall. Although it’s normal for packs in general – dispersal most often happens in fall – the Junctions seem to have lost more than usual.

At the end of my October visit, the current pack total was 13, down from 18 in early September. But by early December, the normal count became 10, with five black and five gray.

Besides the collared females lost to injury in September (1382 and 1276), three other collared females, 1341F, 1383F and 1384F, have not been seen for many weeks. The project does not know (or is perhaps unwilling to divulge) what happened. They may be alive and dispersed out of state (although other wildlife officials would likely relay information about collared wolves). They may have died from injury or in the hunt and were unreported or perhaps died by illegal methods.

At least 3 additional members (uncollared) of the once-large pack are no longer being seen. Of course, uncollared wolves might disperse or be killed without anyone knowing, which happens all the time. But for 6 wolves to leave a pack around the same time seems unusual to me.

However, one occurrence bucked this trend. The absence of 1276 and 1382 seems to have paved the way for the return of 1386F (she lost her collar somehow, but her neck fur still shows an indentation where the collar once was).

1386F became a favorite in 2022 as “new mom” when she initially shared a den with 1382 north of the road at Slough, then moved her pups south of the road to join 907’s and 1276’s den. In early 2023 she started to become ostracized by various females, so she left the pack for the summer and was sometimes seen in the Hellroaring area.

So, in early November, the Junctions gained an adult female, but instead of raising the total to 14, they lost four MORE uncollared wolves somehow, bringing the current number to 10.

The regular members seen during Wolf Study are alpha male, 907F, black pup (she looks brown), 1386F, 1385F, an uncollared black female, at least one uncollared gray female, at least one uncollared gray male and two additional uncollared grays.


Sometime this fall, the founder of the Pack died. He was recognizable but not collared. It is not know yet who has stepped in to fill the alpha male role. The pack has 7 pups born in 2023. Their current total is 15


No additional info at this time


This is the biggest pack in the Park at the moment, having raised 17 pups in 2023. They number between 20 and 24. No further info available to me


This pack now numbers 7; alphas 1228F and gray male; sub adults black female and gray male; plus three of four gray pups born in 2023. They are sometimes seen between Soda Butte Picnic and the Confluence but remain quite elusive.


During my visit, I overheard a talk Jeremy gave to a school group and learned the following:

Black wolves have better immunity overall and are longer-lived (my examples would be like 21, 472, 755)

Gray wolves have better reproductive success and tend to be more aggressive. (my examples 40, 217, 907 in her youth)

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