Outdoors

The first year of a wolf, from conception

An ear-tagged wolf stands by an elk carcass with another wolf in the distance in this photo captured on March 24, 2013, by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife remote research video camera. The image supported department officials in declaring the existance of the Wenatchee Pack, the 10th confirmed wolf pack in the state.   The ear-tagged wolf originated from the Teanaway Pack. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)
An ear-tagged wolf stands by an elk carcass with another wolf in the distance in this photo captured on March 24, 2013, by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife remote research video camera. The image supported department officials in declaring the existance of the Wenatchee Pack, the 10th confirmed wolf pack in the state. The ear-tagged wolf originated from the Teanaway Pack. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)

WILDLIFE — Northern Rockies gray wolf packs are highly structured socially.   Only the alpha male and alpha female breed.

Generally, according to Washington Fish and Wildlife biologists:

  • Mating occurs in January.
  • Pups are born in dens in April and the pack supports the nursing mother with food.
  • The female and pups begin uniting with the pack at a rendezvous site in May. 
  • Pups are weaned in June.
  • By October, the pups are actively hunting with the pack.
  • By December, the pups appear full size and some older wolves may have been dispersed from the pack to take care of themselves and find new mates and territories. 
  • Wolf packs are known to kill other wolves as they expand or defend territories averaging 350 square miles. Dispersing wolves are especially vulnerable.

A pack is defined as a minimum of two wolves hanging out together.

A breeding pack must have a minimum of one male and one female wolf hanging out together during the winter breeding period.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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