Vedauwoo Wolf Sighting Report Likely Legitimate, Biologist Says

A retired wildlife biologist said the reporting of two wolves in the Vedauwoo area between Cheyenne and Laramie is likely legitimate. He said the wolves are probably from Yellowstone or Colorado.

Mark Heinz

August 03, 20233 min read

File photo: Wolf in Yellowstone
File photo: Wolf in Yellowstone (Shutterstock)

Two wolves allegedly sighted in the Vedauwoo area between Laramie and Cheyenne late Wednesday could have come from either Yellowstone or northern Colorado, a retired wildlife biologist said.

“That’s not too far for wolves to disperse,” retired federal ecologist Chuck Neal of Cody told Cowboy State Daily.

“Politically, it would be quite an accomplishment for wolves to survive Wyoming’s free-fire zone. But biologically, it’s doable for wolves,” he said.

Neal was referencing that it's legal to shoot wolves on sight in about 85% of Wyoming.

Spotted From A Distance

Big Timber, Montana, resident Jenna Bourgeois told Cowboy State Daily that he spotted what he’s certain were two wolves off in the distance in the Vedauwoo area at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Bourgeois is familiar with what wolves look like and how they move, having spent time in Canada’s remote Yukon territory.

“They looked way too big to be dogs or coyotes, and the way the one was moving, he looked like he was after something,” Bourgeois said.

He added that the animals were in an open, grassy area several hundred yards away when he spotted them.

He raises Karelian Bear Dogs and has been camping out at Vedauwoo with several of his dogs, including a puppy he plans to deliver to a customer in Cheyenne.

He let the puppy and its four littermates out for a romp, while his adult dogs were leashed at the campsite.

Karelian Bear Dogs are bred for hunting and to protect people from grizzlies, so they’re naturally adventurous, he said.

The puppies "were testing how far I’d let them run,” he said.

That’s when he looked beyond where to puppies were headed and spotted the wolves.

He wanted to get a closer look at, and possibly photos of the wolves, but he had to make sure the puppies were safe first.

“It took me a while to get them all rounded up. So, by the time I drove down to where I’d seen the wolves, they were gone. They had run away down a valley.”

Did They Come From Wyoming Or Colorado?

Traveling hundreds of miles isn’t unusual for wolves that aren’t attached to established packs, Neal said.

So, it’s entirely possible that the pair Bourgeois said he spotted could have trekked from Wyoming’s prime wolf habitat near Yellowstone to Vedauwoo.

Or, they might have come from Colorado’s North Park Pack, he added.

The North Park pack was established by a female wolf that wandered from Yellowstone, across Wyoming and into Colorado a few years ago. There, she met and mated with a male wolf that had also come from Wyoming.

The North Park pack might have broken up, Neal said. Three young black female wolves that crossed into Wyoming and were shot in October 2022 were thought to be from that pack, he said.

The pack’s founding female also recently disappeared, he said, so the other members might have wandered off, Neal said.

The stragglers included an “adult male, grey, and a subadult male, black,” he said.

It’s possible those two wolves wandered up across the Wyoming state line, and are the ones Bourgeois thinks he saw, Neal said.

Bourgeois said at least one of the wolves he saw had dark fur on the top of it’s body, and was lighter-colored on its flanks and belly.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter