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Early Fall Snowstorm

Beartooth Wolf Pack

by Dan Hartman
Sept. 25, 2017

     The recent storm that shut down the Park for a couple days also stalled my wood cutting.  It did however free up some time for exploring.

     First off, the tracking was excellent.  I mean overnight we gained over a foot of new snow.  Tracks of bears, wolves, coyotes, fox and marten.  Not to mention the moose, deer and hares.  The best tracks were of a large black bear roaming the Pilot-Index overlook.  He even climbed up on a rise and gazed at the scene far below.

     I was returning from the Beartooths in a van full of photographers, when I spotted two black dogs emerging from the pines beside the road.

     Wolves!

     Now here is where I made the mistake photographers have been making for years.  We had just photographed scenes, which means low ISO's and high depth of fields.

     Slow shutter speeds.

     Like I do time after time, I didn't re-adjust my settings.  So when I needed to grab the camera and fire, I got nothing but soft images.  Luckily, one image did work as my heart must of missed a beat and gave me a sharp image at 1/40th of a second hand held.

     Howling sounded to the east.

     I noticed a lot of raven activity and fresh coyote tracks.  Obviously a carcass nearby.

     I was there at dawn the next morning.  Ravens appeared to by flying to a point about 300 yards downslope.  I moved closer til the timber became thick.  Bear tracks trailed out of the trees.

     I wasn't going any closer.

     I found an overlook and  glassed the area for an hour.  Nothing moved except the ravens.

     Cindy and I went back for a look at dusk.  A black bear and yearing cub's tracks emerged from the woods, but no fresh wolf tracks.  On the way home a fox hunted a boggy meadow.  At one point he appeared to try pushing open a log gate.

    Cindy and I have lived in Silver Gate for 27 years.  Never have we experienced snow like this in September.  It does make us a ittle nervous as we've only gathered half of our winter wood supply.  Hopefully Indian Summer will last most of October.


Photos

View slide show

Beartooth Wolf Pup

Fox&Raven

Open The Gate!!!

Bear Tracks / Overlook

Black Bear Tracks

Beartooth Butte

Half A Woodpile




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