“Wolf by the river. Stop!” screamed Emily, a fellow traveler who sat across from me in the snow coach. Minutes earlier I had asked our driver if there was any chance we’d spot a wolf. “Quite frankly, I doubt it,” she replied. “Although Yellowstone is home to about 100 wolves, spread across 12-13 packs, they wander across 2.2 million acres,” she explained. Like a damp mist from the geysers, disappointment had seeped into the warm coach, weighing us down.
There are few people living who know Yellowstone better than Jeremy Schmidt. The Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based writer and photographer has spent 40 years as a ranger, “winterkeeper,” and guide in the park.
Packs are making a comeback. That’s a thrill for wildlife lovers. But wolves are still wolves, killing cattle and elk. Many Westerners are angry. And so, the age-old fight over land and food has begun anew.