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More Yellowstone wolves radio-collared. Average Druid Peak Pack wolf is small.

2-11-2002, more data 2-13

Early this winter a number of wolves in the remote Yellowstone Delta Pack were radio-collared. Last week the Yellowstone wolf team captured wolves in most of the rest of the Park packs.

The not so surprising result was that the wolves were fairly big, except the Druid Peak Pack was is currently in 4 sub-groups. The Druids were small. The largest captured Druid was the alpha male 21M, who was recollared. He was on a kill with perhaps 8 to 10 pounds of meat in him.  He weighed 118 pounds. 103F, who had a litter of 3 pups last year which she raised mostly by herself, was only 70 pounds. Four Druid yearlings were captured and numbered 251F, 252M, 253M, and 254M. They weighed 75-80 pounds. A small Druid pup, 255F was also captured and collared.

Two Leopold wolves were captured. 220F (now 22 months old) was a recapture. Last winter she received a high tech GPS collar, but it was defective because it didn't fall off as advertised (this ability was a selling point). Therefore, a costly recapture was made to remove the data-laden collar. The data is fortunately undamaged. 259F, a black Leopold yearling was also captured.

The radio-collar-poor Chief Joseph Pack (poor since the dispersal of collared wolves and the death of its alpha pair last year) got a radio collar. Male pup 248M, who weighed 100 pounds, was the only capture. Interestingly, the Pack spends more and more of its time west of the Park (although it used to favor the area north of the Park). Now it increasingly moves west into the Madison Range.

Mollies Pack, which lives in the Pelican Valley, got two radio collars. Wolves 261M and 262M are the numbers for two big pups caught on a bison kill. The pups were full of meat and weighed 120 pounds each.

The Nez Perce Pack is hard to catch, but a gray yearling male 249M was captured.

Lastly, the Cougar Creek Pack from the Madison Valley just NE of West Yellowstone got 3 radio collars. Captured were 256M, a 2-4 year old male, 257M a 2 year old male, and 258M, a yearling. They all weighed over 100 pounds.

Yellowstone wolf team leader Dr. Doug Smith told me there are now 4 Druid groups. Their membership frequently changes (almost daily). The main group is still lead by 42F and 21M is contains mostly pups and yearlings. Older Druids, who may be less submissive, circulate in the 3 other groups. Because of a lack of discernable territoriality and also floating memberships, these groups of wolves are not yet packs.

Today is the last day of the Montana late elk hunt, just outside the Park. Wolves in Yellowstone seem to avoid the hunt. It will be interesting to see if any wolves, such as the Rose Creek Pack, leave the Park when the hunt finished. There are usually plenty of leavings of the hunt for scavenging.

Feb. 13, 2002. Here are the complete data on all of the Yellowstone National Park wolf capture and collaring for 2001.

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  Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan

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