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Yellowstone Wolf: Tracking the Packs

Yellowstone's wolf packs—Junction Butte Pack

The Junction Butte pack formed in April 2012 when 838M dispersed from the Agate Creek pack with two females. The two Agate females quickly disappeared but later that month 838M was seen with two new females and an uncollared gray adult nicknamed “Puff”, originally from Blacktail. During the first year, this pack had 3 collared wolves (838M, 777M, 823F) join the pack and subsequently die, leaving the pack un-trackable using telemetry equipment. After 870F sustained a neck injury during the 2013 breeding season and lost her status as the alpha female, “Ragged Tail” paired with the alpha male “Puff” to become the new alpha female. “Ragged Tail” disappeared and 870F regained her alpha status; the fate of “Ragged Tail” is unknown. Around the same time, the alpha male “Puff” also disappeared (fate unknown). 890M took over as alpha male and paired with alpha female 870F until both were replaced by 911M and 970F as alphas in December of 2014. Three Junction Butte females, including 970F, 907F and 969F, were seen breeding during the 2015 mating season. In September 2016, 911M was killed by Prospect Peak wolves. After 3 wolves were harvest in late 2016, and another was not seen again, Junction Butte was only seen sporadically. The 2017 breeding season was odd; 969F was displaced as alpha female by her sister, 907F. 4 wolves from Prospect Peak took advantage of the opening in this pack and seemed to become members. The Junctions denned in April 2017, but no pups survived. In April 2018, we believe that at three females had pups at the Slough Creek dens – 907F, 969F, and an uncollared black female. 996M displayed very odd behavior towards the pups, potentially killing a few of them. Only three pups survived to the end of the year. Spring 2019 brought another strange denning season. Four females produced pups. 969F and the uncollared black female attacked and severely injured 907F, who relinquished her alpha position to the black female. 969F then ate and buried 907F's pups. 969F denned near a popular trail, and the pups were habituated to human presence despite hazing efforts from Wolf Project staff. This habituation was observed into the early winter. 1109F produced at least 3 pups on Specimen Ridge which joined the pack in the fall. Two pups were killed by vehicles in November. Of the 17 pups produced by in 2019, 8 pups survived to the end of the year. 969F died in January from malnutrition/intraspecific conflict. [Updated 1/2020]

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Pack composition

ID Social status Age class Color Sex Age Mange status Birth year Birth pack Description
907FSubordinateAdultGrayFemale7Uninfected2013Junction Butte PackOnly radio-collared pup from the 2013 cohort. Her minor mange infection in late fall 2013 worsened through the 2014 winter, but she has made a full recovery as of March 2015. She pushed her sister, 969F, out of the position of alpha female in 2017 and bred a young male from Prospect Peak (1048M) who joined the pack. She was displaced from her alpha position in the spring of 2019 but remains with the pack. She is missing her left eye from an old injury.
996MSubordinateAdultBlackMale5Uninfected2015Prospect Peak PackOriginally a Prospect Peak wolf, he joined Junction Butte in March 2017. He has a non-functioning Vectronic GPS collar.
1047MAlphaAdultBlackMale6Uninfected20148 Mile PackThis wolf is black with blonde/orange-ish mottled markings. He attempted to disperse with the other males that left Prospect for Junction Butte in March 2017, but was unsuccessful. He wandered, often seen with Prospect Peak in 2015, and then joined Junction Butte in March 2017. 1047M has a noticeable limp; he typically lags behind the rest of the pack although is able to maintain his position as alpha male.
1048MSubordinateAdultBlackMale5Uninfected2015Prospect Peak PackThis large black male was born into the Prospect Peak pack in 2015. This feisty male left Prospect in March 2017 and bred 907F, the alpha female of Junction Butte at the time. He remains a member of the pack.
1109FSubordinateAdultBlackFemale4Uninfected2016Junction Butte PackBorn in 2016 to either 907F or 969F. She is a light black color and had a limp for most of 2017 - earning her the title "Limper" for many months; she was collared in December 2017 and is now referred to as 1109F. In 2019 she produced at least 3 pups on Specimen Ridge which joined the rest of the pack in the fall.
1228FSubordinateYearlingGrayFemale1Infected2019Junction Butte PackOnly gray female pup, with a studded VHF collar. Very light gray coloration. She has a mange patch on her left rear leg.
1229FSubordinateAdultBlackFemale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte PackVectronic GPS Collar, Dark Black
Black Male AdultSubordinateAdultBlackMale5Uninfected2015Prospect Peak PackUncollared black male graying with age. He has a gray muzzle.
Black Alpha FemaleAlphaAdultBlackFemale4Uninfected2016Junction Butte PackA dark black female with a lighter backsides, she looks similar to the black female yearling. The best way to differentiate between these two is dominance behavior.
Black Female AdultSubordinateAdultBlackFemale2Uninfected2018Junction Butte PackDot blaze on her chest
Gray Male AdultSubordinateAdultGrayMale2Uninfected2018Junction Butte PackLight Back Stripe, Only Uncollared Gray
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackMale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackFemale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackFemale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackMale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackFemale1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack
No ID yetSubordinateYearlingBlackUnknown1Uninfected2019Junction Butte Pack

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Past pack members

ID Social status Age class Color Sex Age Mange status Birth year Birth pack Death year Description
869MSubordinateUnknownGrayMale8Uninfected2012Junction Butte Pack869M had severe hair loss over most of his body due to mange infection during the 2012/2013 winter. By April 2014 he appears mange-free. Last location was May 1, 2014 and he may be showing dispersal behavior.
870FUnknownGrayFemale12Uninfected20082015Birth year is 2008 or 2009. During the 2012/2013 breeding season 870F was injured an lost her position as alpha female of the Junction Butte pack. Later in 2013, she traveled with her neck pointed down, as if she is always smelling the ground. In November 2013 she seemed healed and regained her alpha status within the pack. She denned in 2014 but the number of pups is unknown. During the winter of 2014/2015, she was largely alone. 870F was found dead in March 2015.
889FUnknownBlackFemale9Uninfected20112014She was radio-collared as a Junction Butte wolf in winter 2013 and denned unsuccessfully in 2013 as a pair with 890M. During Fall 2013, she traveled with 755M but they also failed to den in 2014. She was harvested during the 2014 wolf hunt.
890MAlphaUnknownBlackMale9Uninfected2011Blacktail Deer Plateau PackThis wolf was nicknamed "Patch" before he was radio-collared because of the pattern of hair loss due to his mange infection, from which he has recovered. He left Junction Butte and joined Mollie's in summer 2016. His collar is no longer functional. He currently is graying with age.
911MAlphaUnknownGrayMale11Uninfected20092017Birth year 2010 or 2011. This wolf was with the Blacktail alpha male (778M) from fall 2013 until the 2014 breeding season. Later in the winter he was with 755M, 889F, and a black adult female from the Junction Butte pack. During the 2014 denning season, he and the Junction Butte black adult female re-joined the Junction Butte pack. He previously had mange but appears to have recovered. He was killed in September 2016 by Prospect Peak wolves.
969FAlphaUnknownGrayFemale7Uninfected2013Junction Butte Pack2020She was seen alone quite a bit in 2015-2016, but as of 2017 she is with the pack. In summer 2019, she denned separately from 907F and later was seen raiding her sister's den (the primary den site). She died 1/10/20, most likely from starvation as the result of being exiled from the pack.
994MSubordinateUnknownGrayMale52015He has not been seen since late 2016, most likely dispersed.
New MaleSubordinateUnknownGrayMale?
Ragged TailAlphaUnknownGrayFemale?Uninfected
PuffAlphaUnknownGrayMale11Infected20092017Classic gray coloration. Only adult gray uncollared male other than "New Male". Smaller than "New Male" who was with the pack often in 2013.