A Stanley woman’s encounter with Idaho wildlife has gone viral after she shared the video — a rare glimpse of a pack of wolves on an open road in daylight — on Facebook.
Mikesell Clegg, 26, was driving to work on Idaho 75 between Stanley and Sun Valley on Saturday morning when she saw a cluster of animals walking on the road.
“I thought it was a herd of elk because that’s a little more common,” Clegg said in a phone interview.
She slowed down and started to realize that it was instead a pack of wolves, which is when she pulled her phone out to record.
“They were just in the middle of the road and walking together as a pack,” she said. “I’d assume that because it had just snowed the roads were probably a little easier to travel because they were plowed.”
In the video, the wolves begin to scatter off the road as Clegg approaches, ducking through fences and taking off across the snowy landscape.
“I don’t think very many people in their lives can say that they’ve seen a pack of wolves,” Clegg said. “I think wolves are beautiful, so it was a really special experience. I can’t describe it … it’s something I know was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”
Clegg, who grew up in Stanley, said she previously had only seen two wolves in her life. Both times, she saw a single animal running across a road to flee wildfire, she said. The animals aren’t uncommon in Custer or Blaine counties, but they’re most active at night and typically avoid humans.
“I’ve heard them a lot of times when we go camping and they howl at night,” Clegg said.
Clegg said she counted nine animals, all of which are visible in the 23-second video she shared Saturday on social media.
“I was on my way to work this morning and saw one of the COOLEST things I have ever seen in my life! A whole pack of wolves!” Clegg wrote in the post, which had more than 800 shares on Facebook and tens of thousands of views by Monday afternoon.
The post also attracted hundreds of comments, many of them commenting on trapping or killing wolves. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game allows hunters and trappers each to kill up to 15 wolves per year with proper tags, and the state amended its wolf hunting season in early 2020 to allow year-round hunting in some hunting units.
Clegg said she noticed the comments and hopes conversations around the video will remain cordial.
“I know there are a lot of opinions (on wolves) and it’s kind of a controversial topic, but I just would hope that people would notice a beautiful video and a unique moment and appreciate that and just be kind to one another,” she said.
(c)2020 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
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