I’ve just returned from what was my best-ever winter visit to Yellowstone. I spent two weeks in the park, the second half of which was devoted to my photo tour. The trip was highlighted by a wide variety of wildlife sightings, but the wolf encounters were pretty special.
This is the Wapiti Lake Pack, which I somehow managed to photograph on multiple days over the course of two weeks. My first encounter with them—on the first day of the trip—coincided with the 25th anniversary of the wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone.
This pack is somewhat unique as far as Yellowstone wolf families go. They range much farther than most packs, especially in winter. I saw them on a few different days in the northern range, and a few days after the last sighting up north my group encountered them a couple dozen miles to the south in the park interior. The Wapitis are quite accustomed to using the park roads, which often leads to some closer sightings and photo opportunities. In recent winters I’ve just missed some close encounters and viewing opportunities with them, but this year my luck finally held.
They’ve also been one of the largest packs in the park the last few years, numbering over twenty at one point. On this day, we had sixteen in sight during a snowstorm, which is tied with the most wolves I’ve ever seen at one time (you can see fourteen in this frame). For perspective, most closer wolf sightings in the park typically only feature one or two individuals. I thought I’d share this here since it’s nice to get a rare glimpse of so many wolves together.
Finally, I should point out the left-most wolf. That’s the alpha female, whom I last photographed when she was a young member of the Canyon Pack six years ago. She is the only white wolf in the park at the moment, and is descended from the Canyon Pack alpha female, which was the daughter of the Hayden Valley Pack alpha female… both were also white wolves.
There will be a lot more photos to come of this pack once I find time to process them all.
Canon 600mm + 1.4x