The Junction Butte Pack:

This large pack has denned, as we all had hoped, at the traditional Slough Creek densite. However, nothing is simple with this pack in which the females continue their unfortunate tradition of not getting along.

In March, three females were visibly pregnant: the alpha female (uncollared black), 907F (gray, now 8 years old) and “third mother” 1276F (collar no longer works on this black wolf).

At the moment, the alpha female is using the sage den, an opening towards the lower center of the “den hill/den meadow” framed by the eastern and western trees and just above the “gully ridge”. 907F is using the natal den, an opening in the side of the cliff, just beyond the eastern edge of the western trees, and above a thick stand of thin trunks. The natal den has a visible “porch” or deck that permits an adult wolf (or two) to rest just outside the den entrance.

Since roughly April 10, these two Slough females have been localized in this spot. A few days later, the alpha female appeared outside the sage den, no longer pregnant and visibly lactating. 907F has not been seen since that day, but Jeremy sometimes gets her faint signal in the area, indicating that she could be inside the natal den.

Wolf pups need a mother wolf to be inside the den with them for at least their first week, 10 days of life, keeping them warm and providing milk. A mother wolf will only leave the den for a minute or two in the early weeks, to drink and to eat. This is why mother wolves always choose a densite near water. The Slough site has two options: a natural spring located about 30 feet below the sage den (in the spring meadow) and a higher north-facing hill above the den cliff, where slow to melt snow usually remains.

1276F has not been seen for a while; her collar no longer works so it has been quite a mystery as to where she denned, if she denned, whether she has pups or not and if so, who is feeding them?.

It is possible that 1229F was also pregnant and may have denned, but she has also not been seen in a while. Same questions about her as for 1276F.

The usual count for Junction Butte is now 22-23 with a few more blacks than grays.

1154’s group:

This new group formed during this year’s mating season between former Junction Butte males and former 8 Mile females. The alpha pair of this group is 3 year old former Junction “Gray Male” and 1154F (former 8 Mile). The pack includes a second female (uncollared former 8 Mile) and at least 8 former Junction males, including 1272, 1273, 1274 and 1278 plus several young uncollared Junctions. The former Junction alpha male, 1047M was an original founder but alas, he was found dead in late March - most likely killed by the rival Eight Mile pack.

The usual count for 1154’s group is 10-12. It fluctuates because some of the young members are still comfortable with (and welcome) in both groups. It is thought that this pack denned somewhat west of Hellroaring but no pups have yet been confirmed.

8 Mile Pack:

It is thought that this pack denned in its usual Blacktail Plateau homesite but no pups have yet been confirmed

Wapiti Pack:

It is thought that this pack has denned on the west side of the loop road this year, roughly south of the Mary Mountain trail. No pups confirmed yet.

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