Gray Wolf In Soda Butte Creek

I had just gotten my new camera and lens 2 months earlier.  I couldn't wait to go to Yellowstone and shoot some wildlife.  It was 7:30 am new years eve 2007 and I found a elk in Soda Butte Creek, still alive but unable to stand.  I Think it had a broken back from a vehicle accident, the road was only 25 yards away.  I saw no wolf tracks along the creek.  The temperature was in the teens and the wind was howling.  I set up next to the road and watched as the Elk succumbed to hypothermia around 10 am.  The druid wolf pack was in the area and I new it wouldn't be long for them to show up.  The question was would they come this close to the road also could I stand the bitter cold and wind much longer?  I had one other photographer there to keep me company and around noon we saw 2 wolves running up the valley about 1 mile away.  We noticed they were going from one old kill site to another crisscrossing the valley floor picking up old bones and playing with them.  As luck would have it there was a recent elk kill another 50 yards down stream and the 2 wolves were coming to check it out.  The Gray Wolf was a bit more shy then the Black and stayed back while the Black Wolf went right to the old elk.  He was looking at us when he noticed the fresh elk in the stream.  He froze for a couple of seconds then looked at us again, then back to the elk, then back to us. then back to the elk.  The Black Wolf stayed on the back side of the creek and slowly made his way toward the elk.  He went past the elk and came up stream toward us until he was on the bank of the creek to our left from the elk.  He looked at us as if to say why aren't you guys in on this.  He stepped into the water turned toward us and then to the elk.  He tugged on the hide and then climbed on top of the elk and started feeding.  He had not eaten much when he went back to the other side of the creek.  Next the Gray Wolf Walked into the water and posed for this great shot.  Both wolves were pups from the previous spring. I was in that spot until 5 pm.  I frost bit my cheeks and under my nose. It was worth it.  C Thomas Hoff