It seems that no. 14F, long-time alpha female of the Soda Butte Pack, and former Druid and Crystal Creek alpha no. 104M did hit it off, but now a very interesting development. The Gros Ventre pack, which spent all summer up in the Gros Ventre Mountains east of Jackson has traveled northward to Yellowstone Pack and seems to be hanging out with now four-membered Soda Butte Pack.
An article in the Jackson Hole News quotes Fish and Wildlife Service wolf biologist Mike Jimenez as saying the 3 adults in the Gros Vente Pack (and presumably their two surviving pups) are near Yellowstone Lake with the Gros Ventre pack.
It has been speculated that no. 14F has been looking for a mate ever since venerable no. 13M died in the late winter of 1997.
My guess was that she would pair with no. 104M, especially after two of her adult male children dispersed in October. However, they kept company just a short time.
The presence of the Gros Ventre Pack is most unusual because it already has an alpha female, no. 137F, and another female, her sister 129F, as well as that old escape artist, no. 29M, the alpha male. It is doubly ironic because the Soda Butte killed the father of both of the females in the Gros Ventre Pack several winters ago -- when they were just pups back in the old Thorofare Pack.
Jimenez speculated that the two packs may have become familiarized as they shared the National Elk Refuge at Jackson last winter.
Will this unusual combination continue?
12-15. Even as this odd combination continued, the Teton Pack has moved into the Gros Ventre River area upstream from Jackson Hole. The was the area the Gros Ventre Pack occupied during the summer and fall.
Meanwhile several thousand elk have moved onto the National Elk Refuge a few miles downstream.
12-23. The unusual combination did not continue. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports both the Gros Ventre Pack and Teton Pack have returned to their usual territories. Meanwhile, no. 104M has been missed for some time. One possibility is that he has dispersed a long distance.
Previous stories on the Soda Butte pack
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Copyright © 1999 Ralph Maughan
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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209