As a kid, I loved figuring out who left what behind in the forests and fields I frequented. This is a hobby I still relish, picking through said droppings and measuring and observing any and all possible evidence.

These two particular examples of scat (poop) and tracks (footprints) that I saw many times in the year I lived in northwestern Wyoming are probably the highlights of my mammal tracking life.

I knew there was frequent wolf activity all around the land where I was living, but I had yet to see anything definite. I had seen a wolf in Yellowstone, but that was just far enough (and almost mythical enough) to feel like it didn’t really count. On the day before my birthday in March, I went on a memorable cross-country ski across the sparkly, snow-covered sagebrush flats settled between aspen (poplar) and conifer communities. I knew at once when I saw them. A line of spaced-out, BIG, canine tracks. They couldn’t be confused with anything. I actually fell into the snow near them (on purpose, of course), got as close to them as I could, and actually cried… not only had I never imagined that I would actually see evidence of wolves in my life, but also I had never believed they had truly made a comeback in any part of the lower 48. Both realities struck me in the cold at once, less than a mile from my cabin door. A symbol of conservation hope, to say the least. I was awestruck.

Wolves (8)
Wolf tracks across the snow

Wolves (1)

During one of my last Wyoming adventures before I moved back to New England, I saw one of the most impressive piles of wolf scat I had ever seen (having seen many wolf tracks and scat by that point). Hair-filled, sun-dried, and nearly a foot-long, I could not help but photograph and revel in its glory.

Wolf scat next to average-sized mechanical pencil
Wolf scat next to an average-sized mechanical pencil
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