DAY THREE - Monday, January 15


The days are trending from bitter cold to normal cold. Today started at minus 15. I brush off about an inch of new powder as well.

Poor Laurie had a bad night so she’ll sleep in a bit.

I stop at Picnic but find nothing at all on the carcass. It is thought this is a winter-killed bison, not a predation, so perhaps the poor animal had already gotten thin before it died.

I follow Rick to Dorothy’s and we scope from here. Jeremy finds wolves on the far west end of Jasper, traveling south and downhill. Thanks to his help, I see them, counting 7 before they disappear.

Most of us head to Slough, thinking they will show up from that angle. But they never do. I hear a coyote howling nearby and finally locate it about half-way up Dave’s Hill.

A second coyote joins the first and they go off to the southeast.

Some of us spread out in Little America and others go back to Lamar, but we never get eyes on them.

Around 9:15, Michael radios that he’s found a black wolf on the carcass. We reconvene at Picnic once again.

The single black is really tugging on the carcass. She looks to me like the same wolf we watched yesterday. She feeds a while then chases birds back and forth.

At one point she begins to pull off small pieces and toss them in the air, jumping to catch them. She may be alone but sure knows how to amuse herself.

When she tires of her game, she moves east a bit, but stops and stares in that direction, perhaps hoping to see her gray companion from yesterday. Behind her, the birds suddenly flush from the carcass. Ah, a golden eagle just arrived.

The black wolf starts up the back of the fan towards the tree line. She is out of sight by 10:30AM.

People continue to call this wolf the black pup.

I listen to a great conversation between Rick and a visitor named Tim (English accent), wondering why some predators think of people as prey and why don’t wolves? Tim suggests that perhaps it’s more common for “ambush predators” to occasionally kill humans (like cougars, leopards, tigers, etc) rather than “pursuit predators” (like lions, cheetahs, wolves, bears). I ask whether it might be simply opportunistic? Since almost all predators have killed a human or two over the years.

I suggest that it’s our job as bigger-brained mammals to avoid giving any predator such an opportunity.

Around noon, I head in. I tell Laurie she didn’t miss much. I’m glad she feels better, but we decide to stay in this evening.

Today I saw: bison, coyotes, a golden eagle, elk, 8 Junction wolves (not sure who, other than the uncollared black female) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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