Of all the animal encounters in Yellowstone, none was more exciting than the one with the wolf. Canadian wolves were introduced into the Park a couple of decades back amidst much controversy. I was desperately hoping to capture some images and not get skunked on the wolf. So it was with much relief that I managed to obtain the following image of a black wolf harassing a herd of buffalo in the Hayden valley.
If you’re lucky, that’s what most folks will see. A wolf at about a mile distance. Using my new teleconverter, this image was shot with an effective focal length of 600 mm. Considering the distance, not bad but not great either. OK, the jinx is broken, I finally have my wolf and that’s that. Or so I thought!!
The next day, I was driving along a broad meadow with woods on all sides. I noticed a coyote at several hundred yards distance and so I stopped and assembled my lens with the 2x teleconverter ( a major mistake!!). By the time I had the equipment assembled the coyote is running straight at me, hell for leather.
What luck, with each bound his image grows bigger in my view finder!! I click away. And then I start to wonder, “What’s up with this, why is he running straight at me??!!”
And that’s when I spotted the wolf! Running in hot pursuit of the coyote!! Both animals are coming lickety split, straight at me!!
The wolf is wonderfully smeared with blood from a fresh kill. The coyote was obviously hanging around just a little too close for comfort. Now he’s the next item on the menu….dessert!!
As he nears the car, the coyote, panic stricken, veers towards my rear bumper as the loping wolf gains ground with each graceful stride!!.
Both animals pass within 20 feet of my camera. I’ll swear that if I had both back doors open they would have come straight through the back seat of the car!! Cursing, I tear off the teleconverter and jump out of the car to follow the chase. But it’s all over. The coyote has gained the refuge of the woods and the wolf, now having broken off the chase, saunters nonchalantly towards the edge of the forest, giving me a marvelously clear shot of his ass end with my bare 300mm lens…..and nary a backward glance!!
I re-enter the car and the adrenalin rush is such that I laugh uncontrollably for a good minute. An encounter never to be forgotten!!
So who’s afraid of the big bad wolf. Wile E. Coyote….that’s who!!