Male Wolf Promptly Shows up at Spotted Bear for the Bass Creek Wolves

12-17-99 update 1-17-00

The relocation of the Bass Creek Pack has gone much better than expected.

Folks may remember there was a question whether the pack would stay together, and whether the mother (no. 57F) of the five pups could keep them fed long enough to teach them to hunt.

It turns out that in a fashion similar to wolf 8M, who was waiting for the release of no. 9F and her pups in Yellowstone back in October 1995, the lone wolf that had sometimes been in the Spotted Bear area showed right up at the Spotted Bear enclosure. 

According to Joe Fontaine the male wolf must have already been very near the backcountry Spotted Bear airstrip. The wolf then apparently followed the truck used to take the pack from the airstrip to the pen

The morning after the pack had been released into the pen, the wolf team noticed wolf tracks outside. They quickly located the collar frequency of Montana wolf 117M.  He had been the alpha male of the Pleasant Valley Pack, but was relocated to the Spotted Bear area last January.  Given  this unanticipated opportunity, the gate to the enclosure was quickly opened. The female quickly left the pen and 3/4 an hour later one pup left.  Then the biologists shooed the other four pups out.  Soon the wolves, in what is hoped will be an intact pack, were all howling back and forth. 

At last report the wolves headed up the South Fork of the Flathead River -- a good direction.

This is been a good year for the NW Montana wolves after several years of decline.  It is reported there are now 7 packs, including this one. Three or four more seem to be forming, and isn't it ironic?  . . . new uncollared wolves have appeared back at Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley where the saga of the Bass Creek Pack began about a year ago. 

Past stories on the Bass Creek Pack:

Update Jan. 17, 2000. The new male, the female and her pups of what is now the Spotted Bear Pack continue to stay together and inhabit the Spotted Bear area near the northern boundary of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Meanwhile back at Bass Creek there are new wolves, but the area is becoming less hospitable to wolves as subdivision pressures increase. Long Subdivision: The Bitterroot’s biggest development gets new scrutiny by Ruth Thorning. Missoula Independent. 

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