The 06 Legacy
Kira Cassidy/NPS Photo


926F aka Spitfire
Pete Bengeyfield

926F was born in April 2011 into the Lamar Canyon pack, the daughter of famous alpha pair 06 and 755M. When she was just a yearling, her mother and uncle were both killed by trophy hunters, which caused the close-knit family to fragment. 776F, an older sister, led some of the siblings eastward to form a new pack outside of Yellowstone while 926F and another older sister Middle Gray remained behind in Lamar Valley.

Soon after, a lone male wolf known as Big Gray (925M) dispersed from his Wyoming-based pack, ventured into Lamar Valley, and joined 926F and Middle Gray. The big, hunky wolf with a drooping left ear became the new Lamar Canyon alpha male. Big Gray initially paired with Middle Gray, and she produced a litter of pups that spring; however none survived the year. That fall, Middle Gray left Lamar Valley behind, possibly to join her siblings outside the park.

926F and Husky Black by Panzer Gnauck

When Middle Gray left, 926F had the chance to take her place as alpha female of Lamar Canyon. She was deeply in love with Big Gray and ultimately won his heart. That spring the couple welcomed a litter of seven pups into their lives. The parents did everything they could to keep them fed and safe - even putting themselves at risk – which paid off when six out of the seven pups survived through the end of the year.

In early 2015, the Lamar Canyon family traveled westward into rival territory searching for better hunting opportunities. The journey proved successful as they brought down an elk to nourish their hungry pups. However, on the trek back home disaster struck when they were ambushed by as many as 12 members of the Prospect Peak pack. Big Gray immediately saw the danger and fearlessly ran directly towards his adversaries, allowing his mate and young ones enough time to flee unharmed.

Despite the tender age of 11 months, sons Little Gray and 967M demonstrated remarkable courage when they turned back to face the Prospect wolves in defense of their father. Big Gray was badly injured, but still managed to scare off the remaining wolf before taking refuge in some sagebrush. As the sun set, 926F and her pups bravely ventured into enemy territory to pay their last respects. Undaunted by danger, their affection for Big Gray was so strong they risked the grave threat to their lives to say goodbye. With heavy hearts they returned home without him - the love of 926F's life had gone forever.

Soon after, four males from the Prospect Peak pack came into Lamar Valley and approached 926F. She was facing a desperate situation - with six young pups to care for and more on the way, she had no chance of outrunning the males. 926F could only hope that through sheer wit, cunning and courage her little family might survive this encounter unscathed. Acting quickly, 926F sent her pups away for safety then faced off against their potential assailants alone. Showing remarkable poise in such trying circumstances, 926F bravely wagged her tail as an offering of peace; incredibly it worked! The would-be attackers saw something special within her and became devoted members of Lamar Canyon pack themselves – just like Big Gray before them - even going so far as to raise the five newborns sired by him!

776F; Keith Crowley/Alamy Stock

Mange, a highly contagious skin disease, was introduced into the northern Rocky Mountains in early 1900s to eradicate wolves and coyotes.  Transmitted by scabies mites that burrow below the skin's surface and caused overwhelming irritation, infection and fur loss; an infected wolves painful journey includes susceptibility to sunburns during summertime or deathly cold temperatures through winter months. Sadly, the disease infiltrated the Lamar Canyon pack and her legacy five pups were never seen again.

926F's daughter Little-T, so named for her chest’s distinctive t-shaped white patch, and her mother shared a profound bond that would last throughout their lives. In 2016 three of the Prospect males perished, and 926F and Little-T were joined by 949M and Small Dot—companions from Beartooth pack. Unfortunately, further heartache was to come as 949M contracted canine distemper. As he lay dying under a tree, 926F once again came to the side of her mate to say goodbye.

After several years without any surviving pups, hope returned to the Lamar Canyon pack 926F, Little-T, and Small Dot were seen with five strong pups in tow. But just as it seemed their future was secure, matriarch 926F was shot and killed on Nov. 24, 2018, less than a mile outside the Yellowstone National Park boundary—a heartbreaking reminder of her mother's and uncle’s demise from hunters' bullets before her. 926F's absence left nothing but sadness echoing through Yellowstone National Park. The mournful howls from her family could be heard for days while they searched desperately for her in the area where she was killed.

The Lamar Canyon pack was thriving in Yellowstone National Park; however relentless trophy hunting pressures led to their downfall. After 926F was killed for trophy in 2018, only two adults remained and would struggle to provide for their young. A larger, neighboring wolf pack encroached on Lamar Canyon territory and pushed the pack out of the park. In 2020, the once mighty Lamar Canyons were no longer recognized as a Yellowstone pack. Sadly, how many more generations must suffer the disastrous consequences of trophy hunting before this devastating cycle ends?

926F Resources


926 Raindrops: Gift of the Wild




The memorable story of how Straube's vision of a pack of wolves and an encounter with Wolf 926F was life-changing. She intertwines the themes of rain, nature and finding solace. 2021

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Alpha Female Wolf: Fierce Legacy of Yellowstone's 06




McIntyre celebrates the legacy of our namesake 06, the most famous wolf in the world. 06 was revered around the world for her beauty, intelligence, strength and hunting prowess. You too will be captivated by 06 after reading her story. 2022

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Wolves: Western Warriors




Photographer Argyle discusses the struggle wolves have to survive in the wild and even more so in a world where people set out to exterminate them. She explores what it means to be a wolf in Yellowstone through stunning photography and personal observations about the Wapiti Lake pack and other notable wolves. Argyle also includes information about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and the ongoing concern of wolves no longer listed as an endangered species. 2022

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