YOU ARE A 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE WOLF IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. YOU ARE QUESTED TO FIND A MATE, BUT FIRST YOU MUST BECOME AN EXPERIENCED ELK HUNTER.
I howled, establishing my territory, space, and possibly attracting a potential mate. My mother-wolf, father-wolf, and pack got killed in a wildfire and I had to go on my own. I trotted along the way, scenting the ground looking for an elk carcass, as I did not feel confident enough to hunt on my own. There! I found an elk carcass, and oh, it smelled wonderful! But a troublesome bear kept me from the standing prey. I trotted back and forth, hoping the bear was full. He was not. I tried a growl, but the hungry bear hardly took notice, so I left, knowing that one day, when I had a pack, no bear would keep me from prey again.
I kept scenting the ground, and kept looking. Freeze. Pause. A hare. I licked my lips and stalked my prey, telling myself I would kill it. Pounce! The rabbit got caught by surprise and started to run, but a puny hare was no match for a wolf. I killed it with a crunch on the spine. It was hardly two mouthfuls. Unsatisfied with my catch, I moved on.
It was getting dark so I decided to go to sleep.
DAWN: I yawned as I woke, stretching my limbs, and cleaning my fur. Howls. Other wolves. I sniffed the air. It was the LunaNova Pack, 12 strong. I decided it was finally time to hunt some elk. Running and scenting as fast as I could, I finally scented out the elk herd.
Trotting upon them, scenting them, to see who the weakest elk were. Weak. Very weak. Careful to avoid the bull elk, I bit the female elk’s chest. She kicked, she ran. So did I. It was a chase, and I was biting every chance I got. She finally had to rest, which left her vulnerable. I went in for the final blow. Snap. She stumbled down to the ground. I sniffed. Dead. The crows immediately came to eat the carcass, as I looked around, seeing who would dare challenge me for this.
A coyote. I growled. He was intimidated, but confident. I pretended to walk away. As I did so, I limped, to attract other coyotes. Once I saw about two others, I quickly turned tail. Yelp. Then the coyote fell limp. Giving me a look before his final breath. After the encounter, I headed for Pine, Pine Mountain to be exact.
I was ready. I was ready for the hardest part of a she-wolf’s life. As I trotted along the forest towards the large mountain, I used my sniffer to determine the whereabouts of this place. Though I had never been there before I knew exactly where to go by instinct, as every Yellowstone wolf knew. One time, my mother-wolf got shot with what looked like a green stick thing, by a creature known as a No-Fur. She quickly fell asleep, and I did not see her for some time. A day later, she came back to me, with a strange thing on her neck. Father-wolf did not think much of it at first until a group of no-furs came and took their Flashy-Captures, and spooked the pack. After that, Father-wolf chewed the thing off her neck and carried it to the river where it sank deep, deep below. After that, the No-Furs never bothered us again. I sighed longingly from the memory, but that was the past. Creatures stay in the present. Yapping of which, I arrived in the Pine Mountain pack territory. My destination. My Crossing for the first time.
I was headed down-wind, as I could scent things better, than upwind. Wolf. From here. Male, was what I got from my trusty snout. As I headed straight for it, my eyes gleamed with excitement. There he was. A possible mate. Something was wrong — he wasn’t a dispersal, like me. He was an alpha male! I felt my tail lowering behind my legs. Before he could speak, I quickly turned tail and ran. Very ashamed of myself, I headed out of their territory. Wait. Something caught my eye. A he-wolf! This time a dispersal like me! He nervously trotted towards me, tail behind his legs. In my wolf point of view it seemed like he was submitting to me, and we had not even said hello! As he approached me, head down, I kept my tail and head high, as I wanted to be the dominant one.
“Hello,” he communicated.
Speechless, I slowly said, “Hello, who are you?”
“I am Arrow of Pine Mountain. I left the pack to create one of my own.”
“I have traveled a long way. What is your name, young wolf?”
“Arrow,” he said.
Still cautious, I said, “Wind. My name is wind.”
ARROW BECOMES WIND’S MATE
As they ran through the snow, Wind felt extra happy as she was no longer alone. They were heading towards Slough Creek, as that was where den sites and hunting grounds were. Wind and Arrow knew they had to get there quickly and start prepping for the soon-coming pups. They soon arrived at Slough Creek, scenting for a decent den.
“Here.” Arrow had scented something. Wind gave him an “okay” glance as she followed him into the woods. Arrow had found a suitable den! Close to hunting grounds along with the summer ones too! They whined in delight as Wind settled into the comfy tree den.
THE END OF WINTER (Almost Spring)
Arrow could hear squeaks, yips, and little howls. He had been waiting all winter for this. He whined to Wind asking to come see his pups. Wind gave a whine of approval back as she cleaned her pups. “Wander, Amethyst, and Achilles,” Wind said. “Those are their names.”
Leaving Arrow, he quickly said, “When should we leave?”
Still caring for her pups, Wind quietly said, “We leave tomorrow, they are already 6 weeks, and are ready for the Crossing.”
THE NEXT DAY
Yawning, all of the pups and adults awoke, stretching every limb.“We have a big journey ahead of us, my pups,” Arrow announced. Wind and Arrow carried the pups to the nearest carcass for a quick meal. Wind’s ears twitched at the sound of a bear; however, it was far enough away that she was not worried. As she and Arrow approached the carcass, they were not aware the pups were facing the predator’s wind direction, and it made them oblivious to the bear stalking Amethyst. Yelp. Whine. Silence.
Arrow and Wind quickly turned around to see that Amethyst had been killed by a male grizzly. Arrow and Wind quickly grabbed their remaining pups and quickly ran away from the grizzly in grief. At the sand crossing, they crossed and carried the pups towards the summer hunting grounds, hoping they could make it. It was almost sundown as they settled in for the night.
THE NEXT DAY
Closer to the hunting grounds than they thought, they picked up the pups and ran as quickly as possible. As they approached the forest, they were overjoyed that they had made it. Setting the pups down, they took a rest, completely oblivious to the stalking cougar. As it closed in on them, its target was Wander. Pounce. Yellllllp. Wander… was gone. Wind and Arrow launched in on the attack, nearly killing the cougar. Wind gave a fatal bite to the cougar’s neck. The cougar fell. Wind and Arrow had gotten their revenge. Wind carried Achilles to the hunting grounds and they stayed there until Achilles was ready to move on.