DAY SIX - Wednesday, December 31

LUCKY SPOT


At 6:59 this morning it’s minus 23. Kind of amazing that a few degrees can make it seem that much warmer, but it does!

As I drive west from Silver Gate I get a report of wolves howling at Slough. There is a stunning sunrise developing behind as I go.

I reach Slough and head out to Bob’s Knob. The group of 8 Prospect males are visible in that area where we often see the golden eagle nest. After yesterday’s freeze out, I decided to add polartec fleece over my usual ski pants, and an additional fleece hoodie. It could be that it only dips down to 27 today, but I do feel much warmer.

We have some howling and watch them climb uphill. One by one they top the ridge, leaving one black still asleep.

Most of us pack up and head back to Lamar. Rick tells us there are weak signals at the Institute to the north.

I set up here with Laurie & Dan. As soon as I look in my scope I see a wolf. A black wolf. Most likely a female pup of Lamar Canyon. Most likely following her already-out-of-sight pack. We watch her follow a trail through the snow downhill into the trees and over the rolling hills behind the Institute. We have her for only about 5 minutes but several people do get to see her.

We try to find the alphas but no dice. I drive back and forth along the valley, scoping from Dorothy’s to Picnic. There is another carcass visible that seems to be new – it’s bull elk – perhaps the one that had been injured three days ago – the one that was standing in the river on Sunday.

It is hard to see but the impression I get is that the wolves have NOT been on it. There are coyotes in the area and a few birds. There is also a live bull elk further up the hill. I turn around and look west and watch an Institute class heading out to inspect the mid-point carcass, now that the wolves have abandoned it. It is a long walk out there on snow shoes.

I also enjoy watching a very dainty coyote with a coat that looked more like a wolf-gray than coyote beige-gray.

There is a lone moose at the confluence and the usual big horn rams on the cliff above that pullout. I head up to Round Prairie and see four more moose up here. I go all the way up to Cooke to get gas and then head to Laurie’s to make it an early night.

We have a wonderful meal and celebrate the turn of the year early.

Today I saw: bison, coyotes, elk, 5 moose, bighorn sheep, 7 wolves from two packs (6 of the 8 Prospect Males group and one black pup of the Lamars) and the spirit of Allison.




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