It was April 10th, 2023 and the warmth of spring was finally making an appearance in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It had recently snowed, and would be snowing a few days later, but on this date, the temperature in the park was nearly 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was truly glorious and knowing what the forecast would be, I knew I had to take a trip into the park. So I did.
As I got to the pullout near the start of the Hellroaring trail, a few cars were parked and people had spotting scopes set up. Knowing this was a good spot to see wolves in the distance, I parked and started to scan in the distance. That is when I spotted the wolves following a bison, which is the image for this week’s find the animal post.
About This Picture
Had I known that stopping here would have caused me to miss a potential once in a lifetime wildlife sighting, I would have kept driving. Down in Lamar, near the confluence, as I watched these wolves in the distance, a mountain lion was easily visible from the road. While wolf sightings are amazing, they aren’t nearly as rare as a mountain lion sighting. Hindsight is 20/20 though, so as I scanned for the wolves down near Hellroaring, I was none the wiser to the missed out experience.
Instead, a handful of other park visitors and I looked down toward the creek a few miles away and watched as young members of the Junction Butte pack of wolves harassed a bison. As the bison headed to the Northeast, up away from the water, a few wolves were right on its tail. When the bison would stop and look at them, they would occasionally lay down, or pretend not to be paying the bison any attention. Then the bison would start to move again and the wolves would follow it.
I snapped a few pictures with an 18-200mm lens, the only lens I use, and then went back to watching the scene through binoculars. The image below is what I captured.
This entire ordeal lasted for 10 or 20 minutes, giving quite an amusing scene to all watching it from afar. The wolves posed no real threat to the bison and it appeared as if the bison knew this. It slowly sauntered away and the wolves lost interest.
While the mountain lion sighting by the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek would have been amazing, witnessing the surly adolescent activities of these wolves was definitely amusing and enjoyable. Sure, some would be less than impressed at this wolf sighting. After all, the wolves were incredibly far away and visible only through a spotting scope or binoculars. But that is what makes Yellowstone a super rad place and exactly why I enjoy doing these posts. Seeing animals up close is incredible, but it only represents a slice of what is visible if you take the time to stop, scan and look far beyond what is easy to spot.
Can you spot the wolves and the bison in this picture?
As always, if you want a larger version of the image, just click on it!
Need a closer cropped image? Here you go!
Want to Spot Animals Like a Local?
In the book, I even share how to train your eyes before your trip to be able to spot wildlife like a pro.
You definitely will want a copy of this book.