Yet another Yellowstone wolf disperses to South Dakota

Wolf from Park’s most remote pack ends up near Pine Ridge, South Dakota-

The third wolf from the Yellowstone Park area over the years to disperse all the way to South Dakota has been found dead.  The big male wolf was hit by an auto along U.S. Highway 18.  Over the last decade two other wolves from in or near Yellowstone have been found dead in western South Dakota. This shows how far a wolf seeking a mate will travel. Of course, famous former Oregon wolf OR7 traveled perhaps a thousand miles (including the kinks and backtracks) in migrating from NE Oregon to northern California.

The wolf was born to the Yellowstone Delta Pack, which lives in the most remote, roadless part of Yellowstone Park.  There is little chance of any wolves creating a successful wolf pack in South Dakota, which may be sparsely populated but is open, and well roaded. It is possible that in an irony of ironies a wolf could migrate from Yellowstone all the way through the Dakotas to Minnesota where wolves were never extirpated.

Story from a South Dakota newspaper. Wolf found near Pine Ridge migrated from Yellowstone. Kevin Woster. Rapid City Journal staff



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  1. Mtn Mamma Avatar
    Mtn Mamma

    The Delta pack are tough bison hunters. I heard Doug Smith say that the biggest Yellowstone wolf recorded was a Delta. I will have to check my lecture notes, but I think I remember 147lbs and the wolf’s stomach was empty. Too bad this guy didn’t get to contribute some of that DNA.

    1. Mtn Mama Avatar
      Mtn Mama

      “When we weighed 760 (DELTA), he had a truly empty stomach, which I know because the effects of the drug cause them to vomit sometimes, and he was puking bile. So he weighed 147 pounds with nothing in his stomach.

      I’ve been studying wolves for 32 years, and 760 was a sight to behold. I’ve handled hundreds of wolves, yet I thought he was a wonder of nature. And then I just started thinking in my head as I looked at him, he lives in the most remote area of the lower 48, and this is the kind of wolf that remoteness produces.”- DOUG SMITH

  2. Jon Way Avatar


    A wolf that size surely would be a monster for the roughly 70 to 90 lb MN wolves – which have eastern wolf DNA in some of their specimens and hence why they are slightly smaller. It would be very interesting if one does make it all the way to MN from Yellowstone area.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      It would be an interesting because the genetic purity of the western wolves is greater than the Great Lakes wolves.

      My statement is based on my interpretation of Figure 4 in Von Holdt, et al., “A genome-wide perspective on the evolutionary
      history of enigmatic wolf-like canids”

  3. Jeff Avatar

    I’d rather see some Northern Rockies wolf genes freshen up the lobos to the south. Maybe that pack near Provo could produce some dispersers…

  4. John R Avatar
    John R

    It would be interesting if a pack were to be established in the Badlands National Park.

  5. red Avatar

    With a full stomach that wolf may have come close to the 175 lb. heaviest wolf on record from Alaska.

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    How many Minnesota wolves have dispersed into South Dakota? It’s a long shot but it would be interesting if a Yellowstone and Minnesota wolf met up in South Dakota.


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Ralph Maughan