I’m still at Yellowstone and there is interesting wolf news.

Druids-

The Druid Peak Pack, after using alternative dens the last two years, has returned to the area on Druid Peak to den where they did from 1997 to 2005. It is probably not the same dens, but basically in the dense area of conifers on the SE face of the peak.

The area is now closed but surrounded on the road by many wolf watchers. I saw and took a number of photos today of a dark gray yearling along Soda Butte Creek who then climbed up to the road and passed though a large number of people near “footbridge” parking lot.

Apparently this yearling is considered a bit too habituated to human presence and some action may have to be taken, but there is going to be a huge problem with people now that the pack has returned to Druid Peak with the wolves frequently crossing the NE Entrance highway to hunt on the flats below.

Slough Creek Pack

After a year’s absence, the Sloughs have returned to the den area they used in 2006 where they were besieged by the “unknown pack,” which resulted in a loss of all their pups and the near obliteration of the Slough Creek Pack itself.

It was the disruption of the Sloughs that allowed the Druid Pack to rebuild its numbers and retake the bulk of the Lamar Valley a year later.

The Slough Creek Pack’s den hole or holes are clearly visible from such places as the Slough Creek outhouse, Dave’s Hill, and the highway, but only with a scope because the ridge side den is way across Slough Creek about 1 1/2 miles away. There have been quite a few people watching.

Bison-

I counted about a hundred bison today inside the park. The number is way down. I saw a fresh carcass of a large bison at Silvergate, Montana. Many are believed buried under the snow.

A number of us saw what might be the very first bison calf. The newborn was alongside its mother near the Tower bridge over the Yellowstone where she was trying to find something to eat along the roadway. At that location there is about a foot of continuous snow with higher drifts and a few, usually steep, bare places.

Spring is finally and clearly coming, however. It is way late, but temperatures were much warmer today with melt and warmer for tomorrow. Just one day has resulted in a significant greening near Gardiner, 2000 feet lower down. It is too late for many elk and a much larger number of bison.

Where are the bears!?

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

4 Responses to Druids den near traditional den site

  1. avatar Carl says:

    Sounds like the bears and scavengers will at least benefit from the hard winter.

  2. avatar Denise Johnson says:

    Great info Ralph.
    It’s hard to imagine a winter that has been so deadly to so many. It has been many years since the last.
    Carnage time approaches.
    Any info on the Hellroaring area???
    It so cool to have like a live feed from the park. Maybe you could do a web-cam next???
    Amazing…great coverage on the bison campaign.
    Chico was a sell-out from what I understand.
    Not much longer til the 28th. Hope Earthjustice and others knocks WY in to the “new millineum”.
    Have a quick trip to the park planned next month. Nice to know the packs are back to known den areas.
    Thanks!!

  3. avatar vicki says:

    And amazingly, with this info, there will still be someone who assumes that if left to roam, all these bison will return to their millions.

  4. avatar jjordan says:

    The ongoing Delisting and Buffalo slaughter reminds me again and again of the quote from old Lodge Skins from the movie, Little Big Man. “White men, believe EVERYTHING is dead. Stone, earth, animals. And people! Even their own people! If things keep trying to live, white man will rub them out”.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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