Epic wildlife battle takes place under the moonlight by cabin in small town next to Yellowstone Park-

Some people have great luck, I wish I could have been at this man’s cabin.

In case you don’t know Silver Gate, Montana (permanent population about 20), it is a tiny and very old town right at the NE Entrance to Yellowstone Park. Grizzly bears and all other Park wildlife regularly wander through town. They rarely make kills in town, although I did watch a huge bison slowly die of starvation on the edge of town a couple winters ago. That was different and not fun, but probably an important experience to remember the indifference of nature.

Some people are plenty lucky though, and a feature article in the Billlings Gazette tells, “Henry Finkbeiner had a front-row seat to an unusual performance last weekend.”

Here is the story by Brett French in the Billings Gazette.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

16 Responses to Silver Gate, MT resident has amazing view as wolves bring down elk at his back door.

  1. smalltownID says:

    Link no worky

  2. Ralph Maughan says:

    The bad link is fixed. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Cindy says:

    We were staying in Silver Gate that day, but had gone to the Lamar to find pups! We heard all about it when we came back our room. After the carcass was removed, the wolves howled, and hung around. The next morning the wolves made their way back to Lamar. Hopefully the quick removal of the reward will be enough for 06 to stay out of Montana!

  4. eloise lanum says:

    How can they be surprised-living so close to Yellowstone?! I suppose they’ll react the same way if a forest fire gets going…”A forest fire, here??!!”

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Silver Gate was almost burned down in the big Yellowstone fire of 1988. I don’t think they would be surprised.

      I have heard that the town’s residents are more environment friendly than many in Cooke City, 2 miles further up the road.

  5. Middle of the Road says:

    Poor Elk, being forced in the water and dying a cruel slow death, Just feel sorry for them

    • jon says:

      You seem like a very emotional person.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Middle of the Road,

      To head for water, the deeper the better, is a preferred and often successful escape tactic for elk. Wolves need to have their paws planted on the ground to bite with any effect.

      • Caribou and deer also head for deep water when being chased by wolves. I watched a bull caribou hold off wolves in a river in Alaska for an entire day by running from deep hole to deep hole before finally being killed at night. I think he just got too cold from standing in the river all day.

        • SEAK Mossback says:

          There is a whole cat & mouse game among islands in southern Southeast in places like Sea Otter Sound where the deer take to the water during a chase and swim to avoid wolves. They will colonize a small island for some period of time, often years, but the wolves will eventually swim out and find them and the surviving deer (which swim better than wolves) will swim off and find another island, and on it goes. Finding the small islands with plenty of deer before the wolves got there was one tactic used by local hunters after deer crashed in big snow winters in the late-1960s and early-1970s and were very slow to recover on some of the large islands due to combined high black bear density and wolves.

    • Jeff N. says:

      I love how trolls come on this site w/ bogus names that attempt to disguise their contempt for the wolf. “Middle of the Road”, “Wolf Moderate”….Come on, don’t you trolls realize that an immediate red flag goes up. Do you think you are being clever?

      Hey troll…how many hunting sites have you blogged on claiming to feel sympathy for the elk that was gut shot, and died a slow painful death.

      • jon says:

        AWESOME comment Jeff N. I would bet that this person who pretends to be a moderate is likely an elk hunter.

        • Ralph Maughan says:


          Being an elk hunter hardly precludes a person from being moderate unless your private definition of moderate has something about hunting.

      • willam huard says:

        Yeah, and I bet those wolves killed that elk for fun….I love that one…..

  6. Nancy says:

    +“They were doing something so natural to them,” he said+

    Meanwhile, along the same vein when it comes to predator & prey – Noticed a bull down (as in bovine, prime rib etc.) by some willows on a ranch. (Not unusual, they often will go off by themselves after breeding season) but this guy has been in the same spot for over two weeks now, only noticed him because I travel this road often.

    Today I noticed someone had left a white 5 gallon bucket near him (water?) Hoping perhaps with some encouragement, he will “snap” out of it?

    So is he took weak to move? Won’t be easy to get a stock trailer down to his location but not impossible if the owner is really concerned about his welfare.

    Or……. will he become just another statistic when wolves (or any other large predator) get wind of his condition? Like the dead cow, other side of the road, just a mile from his location.

  7. wolf moderate says:


    The rancher needs to do one of two things imo. 1 get a vet to the bull to find out what is wrong or 2 put the cow down with a .22 and dispose of the carcass where no predators can find it.


August 2011


‎"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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