Friday, February 5, 2010

John and the wolf collaring

The wolf biologist have started collaring wolves this week. On Wednesday we got word that they were working right near the Buffalo ranch. Dave dropped a group of students off near the location of the collaring but there was no room for the bus. He came back to the ranch to get me and we watched from further away. First the spotting plane came into sight.
Then the helicopter came in with the darter hanging out of the door. The noise and wind spooked a herd of bison who started running full speed away from the helicopter.
Unfortunately, our coworker John had not heard that the helicopter was coming and had headed out to ski down the valley. The bison wound up heading straight for him. Those of us who knew him couldn't decide whether to watch John or the wolf. Once we realized that he was not directly in their path we could not stop laughing. (John has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time) We'll probably tell more John stories later. He is now calling himself Yellowstone Jack and is planning a series of stories about his adventures. This one will be called Yellowstone Jack and the Stampeding Bison.
This last photo was taken by John as the bison ran by. I love the way the bison's tongue is hanging out. He said he could hear them grunting as they went by. The biologists successfully replaced an old collar on one wolf and got a collar on a second one from a pack that previously had been uncollared. Apparently the wolves, bison, and John survived the ordeal just fine. We all enjoyed viewing his photos on the big screen TV and hearing his tale over wine and baked brie that evening.

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