Story of wolves at Green River Lakes (Wind Rivers)

Tom wrote:

“We had had an interesting wolf experience this past weekend.

We canoed across lower Green River Lake with my 7 year old daughter and her friend, camped on the nice beach on the southern shore. Saw a few moose that evening: a large male and then a mother and calf.

Between 4 and 5 am, we heard frantic episodes of moose running along the beach, in the water, and through our camp (I purposely placed the tent among the tight trees so we wouldn’t be trampled.)

I got out of the tent a couple of times to see what I could see, but couldn’t see anything. Several times, I sat up in the tent after hearing some very strange noises. I was wondering what was making the moose run.

In the morning, we went out and the beach was riddled with wolf tracks. Moose tracks in the mud in the water told us that the moose found safety in the water…20-40 feet out from shore. There, the wolves (between 1 and 3 individuals) could not catch them. So as the moose ran along the shore in the water, the wolves would run along the shore on the beach. Back and forth along the beach they danced for an hour. Every so often, a wolf would dart into the water in an attempt to spook the moose back onto the beach where they could be attacked. There would be a flurry of activity with the sounds of running hooves through water becoming more quiet or louder depending on which way the moose were running. No blood or carcasses visible, and we saw the mother and calf nearby the next morning.

It was very exciting. My daughter really enjoyed it. Her friend was terrified.”

The Upper Green River area has probably seen the death of more wolves (government control to benefit the livestock industry) than any other place in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It’s very good hear that, nevertheless, there are wolves that people can see at the north end of the Wind Rivers.

Note that Turiano is the author of what I think is the most comprehensive book ever written on the mountains of the Greater Yellowstone. It is “Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide.”

Here is a link to his website and “Select Peaks” and two other impressive books he has authored.

Lower Green River Lake
Lower Green River Lake and the Wind River Mountains.
Copyright Ralph Maughan







  1. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Good story. I agree, WS is a lttle too willing to take out wolves. Something needs to be done about their over-zealousness.

    Ralph, you might try to develop a link from, so that we can go to blogs without stopping at the old page.

    Rick Hammel

    You can. Just bookmark

    Ralph Maughan

  2. Dale C. Ditolla Avatar
    Dale C. Ditolla

    I had an encounter with a very tolerant pack of wolves this summer.

    I set up camp within a 1/4 mile of a pack of wolves by accident this summer in the Absaroka Mountains. Upon discovering the pack on a hike that evening, two adults with six pups, I suspected they would clear out that night. The next day they were still there and remained there the entire three days I was camped there.

    They never bothered me, my dog, or my horses, even when I left my horses alone in camp one day.

    Just an example of how tolerant some wolves can be.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks for the story. It shows how truly wild wolves are not much of a danger.

    I just heard from a guy who camped with his friend in the top of Idaho’s Big Horn Crags in September (very rugged mountains in the Frank Church Wilderness). They had a hunting party of wolves from the Hoodoo Pack come into camp early in the morning.

    They had five dogs in camp, but the wolves did not attack. They retreated and howled for 5 minutes.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan