First, I want to announce that this is my 103rd trip to YNP since 1998!
Since January 3rd of 2022, I have been in Bozeman, monitoring the interior remodel of my condo. I was extremely lucky to find a wonderful contractor, Tim Spinner who runs his own company, Spinner Remodeling, who lives with his family 4 blocks away from me. He was hard-working, skilled and knowledgeable, ethical and communicative. And he cleans up after himself! There were some delays and hiccups, and a few surprises but I am extremely pleased with the result.
But being tied to my condo made me miss mating season and the March winter wolf study. Of course, I kept up with wolf news via Laurie’s reports but it’s not the same as being there. I’ve missed Yellowstone, especially the restorative landscape of Lamar Valley.
Montana’s new right-wing administration has instituted a new set of ridiculously brutal “hunting” rules. As a result, over 20 Yellowstone wolves have been killed, including 7 from the Junction Butte pack, four pups and three yearlings, shrinking the pack to 14 or 15 adults, depending on whether 1339M is with them or not.
At least four Junction females are pregnant (similar to last year), the alpha female, 907F, 1276F and an uncollared black. If they have a large number of pups, it will take a lot of effort to keep them safe and fed. So, I begin this trip a bit apprehensive for my current favorite pack.
The Junction Pack currently consists of:
Alpha Male (b), Alpha female (b)
1048M (b) 907F (g)
1276F 1229F b 1341F g
1339M g 1340M g
"fluffy" yearling g "skinny" yearling g
4 more uncollared blacks (two being pups)
Former Junction female (and one of my favorites) 1228F (3 year old gray) has been seen with an uncollared male suitor and they are exhibiting denning behavior in the Round Prairie area. They are not often seen but the Project is able to monitor her somewhat. We would LOVE to have her raise pups in the Soda Butte valley.
RESCUE CREEK, 8 MILE, WAPITI and MOLLIE packs are all exhibiting "denning behavior" in their home
territories, but I do not have current info on where each pack is denning. More when I get it.