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Finding Journey’s tracks in Lassen County

Tanya Dronoff
Wildlife Photographer
Special to Feather Publishing

 

A lot of you probably have been following the story of this lone male wolf known as Journey or OR7 as he headed down from Oregon to Lassen County. A lot of us would like to get a glimpse of him on his way to wherever he’s going, but nothing prepared my friend Linda Hay and me for what we would encounter while roaming through the Lassen County countryside.

Just after a good snowfall with the weather still cold enough to make it stick, we decided to venture on some side roads to get snow pictures. I have never been to one particular place we decided to go. Looking for anything to take pictures of, we were running out of options fast. Traveling along this partially snow-covered road, we noticed large tracks walking the same direction we were traveling.

Not seeing claw marks, we labeled them as mountain lion at first, and then we realized the pattern of the stride was wrong.

Could this be Journey? Our hearts fluttered, and we were so involved in following the tracks we weren’t thinking of anything else. Although the tracks seemed fresh, we felt he was well out of the area by now.

Coming home and showing the pictures of the print that used my hand as a scale to a Department of Fish and Game representative and giving the location and time the photos were taken, he told us Journey was in fact in that area at that time, and those were most likely his paw prints.

A lot of questions won’t be answered, but I am just glad to have a part of history and wish Journey well in his travels. Mother Nature sure has been kind, and getting a picture of him would have been the ultimate reward.


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