Update on the Cougar Creek wolf packs

The original Cougar Creek Pack is, as usual, in the Cougar Creek, Duck Creek, Gneiss Creek areas of Yellowstone Park. They may range west outside the Park. One of our Board members saw numerous wolf tracks on Horse Butte near Hebgen Lake.

Much of the range of this pack is in very thick lodgepole pine regeneration, and it is hard to get a sighting of them. As a result there is no pup count this year so far, although Doug Smith of Yellowstone Park told me they are assumed to have pups.

Last year half of the pack or more split and moved about 10 miles north to the NW corner of the Park, where the Chief Joseph Pack used to live. They were given the informal name of Cougar Creek II Pack.

Note that Chief Joe was one of the original reintroduced wolf packs (dating from 1996). However, Chief Joe had moved out of the Park, becoming a totally Montana wolf pack.

Today Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks gave me the update on the Cougar Creek II Pack.

They had lost contact with Cougar Creek II from April-July, probably due to radio collar antenna problems. However, they were relocated in July and seen regularly since. They range from Porcupine Creek on the north to Daly Creek on the south. Daly Creek is in Yellowstone Park. Chief Joe used to den there. All of this is in the Gallatin Range. Six adults have been seen, and 3 pups were seen in Daly Creek, and were thought to be some or all of the pups-of-the year.

The Chief Joseph Pack seemed to be in decline, were infected with mange, and I suspected that had dissipated. However, MT FWP told me there is a pack of wolves in Tom Miner Drainage that is a remnant of Chief Joe. I guess that means it is Chief Joe. Chief Joe had, over the years more and more favored Tom Miner. I saw a lot of wolf tracks there and friends saw the wolves, but that was about 3 years ago. Four or five wolves were seen this summer in Tom Miner, and there were signs of pups. Montana FWP is trying to place a radio collar.



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Ralph Maughan