The Chase - Yellowstone National Park

THE CHASE STORY - March 26th 2011

It was a tough winter in Yellowstone National Park. Winter came early and dropped a lot of snow. It would be another 6 to 8 weeks before the valley floors were free of snow. The Elk were hanging out on the wind blown ridge tops that were free from snow but had little vegetation. The Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack were sleeping on a south facing hill side at 7:30 am. The Elk were on a ridge to the left. A few of the young Wolves got up and started moving around at 11 am. They went up the hill to check out a big bull Bison that was bedded down. One Wolf tried to grab ahold of the Bison's tail, the Bison didn't even get up, these young Wolves were no threat. After they harassed a single cow Elk 30 yds from the bison they went back to the other sleeping Wolves and woke them up. I guess they were hungry. The adult Wolves knew just where to go. They started up the ridge to the left slowly climbing, pausing, looking ahead. When they neared the top of the ridge they stopped and looked ahead toward the Elk. After a few moments The Wolves gave Chase. It lasted 4 seconds. They disappeared behind another hill. I was able to make 5 photographs in 1.2 seconds. The Image is the second and third photograph merged together into this Once In A Lifetime Panorama.  A minute later the Elk ran back up the hill, 1 less. Lunch was served. The Wolves in this panoramic photograph from left to right are 06 alpha female, 755 black alpha male, middle gray pup, 754 black bata male. The two other pups where still coming up the ridge to the right.  There were 30 some elk in all running down the ridge. 755 has turned silver over the last few years. It's no wonder after everything he has been through. 

C Thomas Hoff.


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