Yellowstone wolves slow to den, but northern range packs have finally denned.

April 21, 2006

All of the packs on the northern range except the "unknown pack" have denned. The unknowns are still beseiging the Sloughs, and their pregnant subordinate female has not denned.

Dr. Doug Smith told me the only probable multiple litter outside of the Sloughs is the Druids. He inferes that the two Druid females may have dens on opposide sides of a ridge NE of Cache Creek because the two males keep travelling back and forth between these locations (which are several miles apart).

None of the Interior Park wolves are denned although most appear to have a pregnant female. He said the deep snow there makes it look like mid-winter (and hard to dig a den). This raises an interesting question. Can wolf females delay their time of birth by a week or so if conditions for denning are not favorable? All of the denning this spring is later than usual and the snow was deeper than usual.

Dr. Smith said that country at the head of Slough Creek outside the Park, north of Frenchy's Meadow, where Jon Trapp of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks saw lots of wolf sign last summer, looks the same way—deep in snow. This suggests the unknown pack might have lived at the top of Slough Creek, deep in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness. When the snow didn't start to melt, they just kept following Slough Creek down to its mouth where they met the Slough Creek Pack.

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