call of the yooper

Hals - Alpha Female

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Einzelganger might be the bruiser of the bunch, but Hals has the brains. She's an impressive looking wolf and if I have it right, she's the Alpha Female.

I'm told by wolf biologists that the Alpha Female plays the most important role in the pack. The right Alpha Female can make the difference between a flourishing pack and a problem pack. 

Here are some of her more distinguishing characteristics:

She's often in the lead. When I capture multiple wolves or even the entire pack, it's common for Hals to be the first one through the brush.

Hals usually does that "Wolf Stare" thing directly in my camera. Like she's telling me something, probably some choice words that I'd rather not hear - like what she might do if I messed with her pack. My cameras are strategically positioned over miles of raw wilderness. No matter where I've located them, if she's walked past she's looked directly at the camera. Which is really quite impressive considering the hundreds of animals I have go past my cameras that have no clue it's there. 

She has a svelte figure. Of all the wolves I've seen, she looks the longest and most defined.

Unlike Einzelganger, I've never seen her alone. But I have seen her accompany Einzelganger more frequently than I've seen any other wolf do. In fact, aside from a rare time I captured Einzelganger with a pack, Hals is about the only wolf I've seen with Einz. 

From the increasing frequency of wolves on my trail camera images, I'd say the West Side Pack is doing quite well under the leadership of Hals. 

Einzelganger - Alpha Male

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Einzelganger is the big bad ruler of the west side of my wolf project property. Only once did I catch him in the pack. He usually travels alone, sometimes with another wolf I call Hals (that I speculate to be the Alpha Female). One other time there was a smaller wolf trailing the two that I call Lil' Einz. I speculate he's their offspring and carries similar characteristics to Einzelganger.

Einzelganger has a radio collar. Granted, it's a tell tale sign when I see him, but he wouldn't need the collar to be recognized. He has tall legs and a barrel of a body. It looks like he outgrew his tail. He's a very large Michigan wolf, tracking in about the height of a deer.

Merged picture of Einzelganger, a deer and James walking past the camera

Merged picture of Einzelganger, a deer and James walking past the camera

Judging the merging of pictures with him and me, I'd say that if he held his head up high it would come at least to my chest (although he usually travels with his head straight out or lower to the ground). I'm sure that if he propped up on two legs his heavy front legs would easily cross over my shoulders. Definitely not something I ever hope to experience. There's a black stripe on the front of his left ankle - although that's not totally unique - it's something to look for when I'm comparing pictures. The backs of his ears are of a burnt amber.

notice the large distance covered with each step (blue left back foot and green right back foot)

notice the large distance covered with each step (blue left back foot and green right back foot)

He's a speed-walker. I can tell his tracks in the snow based on the spread between steps. He cruises at a seemingly effortlessly pace covering yards in seconds. It's as if he's constantly on patrol of his territory. 

Wherever he goes he goes a purpose. I pity the intruder that gets on his property!