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Pre-dawn wolf sightings at Footbridge Overlook

Pre-dawn wolf sightings at Footbridge Overlook

Wow, after the night we had, we were pumped up and ready to see if there was going to be another great day of viewing. Up early and on the road and got to Hitching Post parking lot and it was full so drove on up to Footbridge Overlook and found a space and saw there were plenty of the wolf watchers there as well as Rick with the Wolf Project.

Got ourselves set up just in time to see 755, the alpha male down by the river coming home from a night of hunting. Way to go! Watched as he seemed to be a little cautious as he was crossing but finally did cross and then headed up toward the road and over to the rendevous spot. The place where he had to cross the road was not the best place for a wolf to have to cross. The road goes uphill and around a curve so some of the wolf watchers were out in the road to assure he made it across safely.

The next wolf we saw was a black yearling. Came down over the hill, across the sage, down to the river, crossed and headed back as well. There were people with much more powerful scopes that were reporting full stomachs and blood on faces of the wolves as they were returning.

There were some people at the Footbridge overlook that were watching wolves for the first time. Doug assured them it was not always this exciting and full of activity. One of the people that was there viewing for the first time was a girl from South Africa. We struck up a conversation with her about Yellowstone and Kruger and travel stories. She told us she was from Hoedspruit. We told her we had some friends from the Netherlands that had a place near there. She thought for a minute and said, Hio and Annet? Amazing! It is the same couple we know. Small world.

Next was a gray yearling the wolf watchers call butterface. Why butterface. The story goes she was just so cute when young but her face. Audrey, from South Africa, commented it was nice to know people from the United States also named animals funny names. She works with conservation of elephants in South Africa. Her work is dealing with how to manage the elephant populations as space for them shrinks, intrusion of people, etc. They are using an innovative approach of birth control for the elephant that can be reversed if and when wanted.

The wolves were howling back and forth while we waited to see which wolf would be the next one to appear. Apparently the pups had crossed the road while the adults were out hunting or had been taken there before the adults left and were out near the treeline in the distance. They were apparently howling to the adults to come feed them. The next wolf we saw was a gray wolf pup. Would move for awhile and then stop and howl and keep going. It was so interesting to see this happening. We were told that the gray pup never did make it across the road while we were there.

When we had first gotten to Footbridge overlook, heard over the radio a report of 10 adults and three pups in the area near Little America. Rick had left to go see what might be going on and which wolves these might be.
We decided to go over to the Slough Creek area and see what we might see in the Little America area.

Kathy and her friend from Australia were there and we visited with her friend while the wolf watchers what was happening and where they should go look next. We fixed breakfast and Rick showed back up and we went out to talk to him. He was going out to check and see if he could hear any signals from 823, a Mollie. He said there appeared to possibly be a new pack forming in the area near Mom's ridge/Little America. It could possibly be made up by Mollies and possibly a Blacktail male. We walked out on the ridge with him and he set up his monitoring device. There was a very faint signal but we could see no sign of this wolf. He explained a little how the tracking device works and tried the signal a few more times.

He called up one of the wolf watchers, Stacy, asked if he could come over and monitor the area for awhile. It was interesting to me because they did talk in vague generalities and place names that might not be familiar to the average person listening. We visited with Stacy for awhile and he showed us the magazine article in the Lonely Planet about wolf watching in Yellowstone. Very cool.

We had checked our messages while we were eating breakfast and discovered that Dennis and Barbara were in the Tetons and where were we. We decided to head on down to the Grand Tetons and hook up with them.

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