After taking the summer off from visiting the Park, I am eager to get back to wolf watching. By all reports the Park has been hot, smoky and extremely crowded.
During August, the Junction puppies moved to the old Druid rendezvous at the southeastern end of Lamar Valley and were seen from that location pretty much every day. But about a week ago they moved to a new rendezvous area on the western end of Jasper Bench. This area has been used by various wolf packs over the years, but unlike the Druid spot, it’s not visible from road level. The only way to see them is to climb up a very high and steep hill north of Coyote pullout.
And that is what some wolf watchers (not all) have been doing for the past week. Others have contented themselves with glimpses of a few adults coming and going from there.
I am not sure I want to climb that hill myself, so I am crossing my fingers that the Junctions will not be spending much time there during my visit.
Montana’s new far-right governor has enabled the wolf-hating Commissioners to pass new, drastic hunting laws that are now in effect. “Hunters” can now lay baits and “howl” to call in wolves (from across the border which they recognize but the wolves don’t). There are no quotas at all and each “hunter” can shoot up to 10 wolves. If a “hunter” also has a trapping license he can kill 10 more using that method.
The season started on Sept 16, a month earlier than usual, and will go into April, a month later than usual. In my opinion, this is not ethical hunting. It is just killing.
The new rules are likely to wreak havoc on the wolves we know, especially as mating season nears. From October through February, unattached wolves begin to travel far outside their home territories, looking for an unrelated wolf with which to breed. I hope and pray our Yellowstone wolves do not spend much time outside the borders of the Park, but I am also preparing myself for very bad news this year.