Trip Report ~ Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
25 - 31 May 2011
~ May 2011 ~
Wednesday - 25 May
I left early and made the West gate just after daybreak. I found my first grizzlies around 9:30 a.m. The grizzly sow with two two year olds were out south of coyote overlook. At 9:45 a.m. I spotted a white collared grizzly south of fisherman's pullout. At 10:00 a.m. I had a black bear north of coyote overlook. At 10:15 a.m. we had a black bear in the tree line south of the Institute. At 11:00 a.m. I saw a large boar grizzly encounter the grizzly sow and two two year olds, he chased them quite a ways before giving up on her (obviously still not ready for romance). At 11:05 a.m. I spotted a grizzly high above bear meadow south of the Institute. At 11:30 a.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies high above and east of the A-Z meadow. At 11:45 a.m. I found a grizzly slightly west of the courting pair. Surprisingly a lot of grizzlies on the skyline today and with the cool weather still out most of the day. At 4:10 p.m. a grizzly low on Norris Mountain. At 5:05 p.m. we watched a grizzly cross the Slough Creek campground road moving west to east (glad the road was closed at the main road - and note we later found this grizzly north of fisherman's in Lamar Valley). I finally saw my first elk calf of the year (John for Seattle showed it to me - there has been a few others spotted mainly in the Mammoth area so far). At 6:30 p.m. we saw a small black bear south of the Institute. Note: We have been seeing five separate black bears in the tree line south of the Institute (a large cinnamon and a black bear - perhaps a courting pair as they are usually found close to each other, a small black bear, a large black bear and one bear in the small clearing above the tree line and below square meadow (the diamond). At 6:45 p.m. we watched a large grizzly south of the Institute. At 7:35 p.m. I saw a colorful grizzly near the old carcass north of picnic area. At 8:00 p.m. I spotted a grizzly on #5 finger on Norris Mountain. And finally, I saw a black bear at Rainy Lake on my way back to Tower Campground. I spend all my nights at Tower Campground, many sites not filling.
Thursday - 26 May
At 5:50 a.m. I spotted the first of many black bears south of the Institute / Midpoint. At 5:55 a.m. I found a large grizzly south of midpoint. At 6:00 a.m. we spotted a courting pair of grizzlies south of the old picnic area. At 6:15 a.m. I spotted a grizzly low on Norris Mountain. At 8:00 a.m. I found a large grizzly south of the Institute. At 8:30 a.m. we watched a grizzly south of the narrows viewed from coyote overlook. At 8:35 a.m. I made my best spot of the week. High above bear meadow lying in the snow was a wolf (this is about 3 miles). John from Seattle had a grizzly in that clearing yesterday. The wolf laid there for quite a while, then finally got up and moved about 50 yards and rebedded (wasn't sure it was a wolf until then - but knew some animal was bedded on the snow). At 12:30 p.m. I saw a colorful grizzly on # 3 finger on Norris. At 3:30 p.m. I found the colorful GPS collared grizzly just east and south of footbridge pullout (it stayed there for all day and the next day too, causing the rangers to put up No Stopping signs). At 7:25 p.m. we had a grizzly visits the old carcass area in the confluence. At 7:25 p.m. made my last spot of the day, a nice grizzly north of Soda Butte Cone.
Friday - 27 May
Five inches of snow during the night. Well the Beartooth and Dunraven Pass were supposed to open today - that didn't happen, still going thru 25 foot drifts on the Beartooths and only a small crew working on Dunraven (new estimates of 6-3 on the Beartooth and 6-10 on Dunraven for opening the roads). At 5:45 a.m. I found two wolves east of trashcan that eventually crossed the road. Going around the corner to the confluence, there was a mule deer doe down and dying at the confluence - about 125 yards from the pullout. Eventually both 755M and the 06 female came and finished killing it and feed on it. I got cold and moved out, later to discover that 15 minutes later a grizzly came and took the carcass from the wolves. At 6:35 a.m. I had a courting pair of grizzlies in the rendezvous area. At 6:50 a.m. I spotted a large dark grizzly south of the institute. At 7:50 a.m. we had a grizzly east of south of footbridge pullout. At 9:10 a.m. we had a black bear south of the Slough Creek campground. Note: They had the Slough Creek road open to first pullout down the road, but I heard someone broke the gate so they closed the road back at the bathroom near the main road. Later today they reopened all the way down to the trailhead near the campground - note Slough Creek campground is still not open--still talking 7-1. At 9:15 a.m. I spotted a courting pair of grizzlies south of long pullout. Today I had a THREE DOG DAY, finally finding my fox high on the fingers of Norris. At 12:40 p.m. I found the grizzly sow with two two year olds reappeared south of the Institute. At 12:40 p.m. we had a large grizzly south of the Institute but quite a ways from the family group. At 5:05 p.m. I spotted a small grizzly in the golden meadow above the Slough Creek campground. At 6:30 p.m. we had a grizzly on # 3 finger of Norris.
Saturday - 28 May
We had very little traffic in the Lamar this morning. Carma and Jennings heard it on the scanner - a rock slide just east of the Blacktail one-way Road. It was reported that there were lots of trees and a car sized rock. The road remained closed all Saturday and until 3:10 p.m. on Wednesday. The local communities were hurt by few tourists, but I really enjoyed the solitude, almost like watching bears back the 80's and 90's before Lamar got busy. At 5:30 a.m. the torn right ear grizzly visits the mule deer carcass at the confluence. At 5:45 a.m. I had one black and three gray wolves moving west south of midpoint (note low clouds and fog made viewing a challenge this morning). At 6:20 a.m. I found a grizzly south of the Institute. At 6:50 a.m. we had an unknown black wolf crossed south to north near midpoint (one of the two unknown wolves that were back in the valley this morning). The Lamar Canyon male met them and gently ran them off - Rick M. thought they might know each other, as the chase wasn't to hurt the intruders). At 7:40 a.m. a grizzly north of the road on the east end of Soda Butte valley. At 9:00 a.m. a courting pair of grizzlies in Crystal Drainage. At 9:10 a.m. I found a large grizzly also in Crystal. At 9:15 a.m. we spotted a smaller grizzly in Crystal. Lots of movement, chasing, and such between all four. At 9:30 a.m. we jad a grizzly again in the golden meadow above Slough Creek campground. The courting pair of grizzlies reappeared in the afternoon high on the skyline of the Divide Ridge, and later were viewed in salad bowl from the Lamar side. At 6:00 p.m. I found three grizzlies, one grizzly on #1, # 2 and # 3 fingers of Norris all out at the same time. At 7:15 p.m. I spotted a grizzly north of footbridge.
Sunday - 29 May
First thing this morning I found a grizzly at 6:00 a.m. on #4 finger of Norris. At 6:40 a.m. we had the torn ear grizzly north of trashcan (busy morning for him, he crossed earlier from south to north at confluence, soon crossed the road again west of picnic area and at 11:15 a.m. crossed again south to north west of the Institute). At 6:45 a.m. I spotted a grizzly north of trashcan. At7:45 a.m. we had a grizzly in the golden meadow above Slough Creek campground. At 8:05 a.m. I spotted a grizzly south of the Institute. At 12:15 p.m. we had the GPS collared grizzly north of trashcan. At 12:20 p.m. I found a grizzly on the skyline on Norris. At 12:40 p.m. I spotted a grizzly south of Soda Butte cone. At 1:30 p.m. I found a grizzly on the #1 finger of Norris. And at 1:35 p.m. I found a grizzly on # 3 finger of Norris. At 3:45 p.m. I found a gray wolf moving east above the trail to Trout Lake. I headed back to Round Prairie and found the wolf confronting an elk in the creek. Good viewing and action for a while, then we noticed a photographer had walked out to within 30 yards of the elk and wolf. I flagged a ranger down and he had a long chat with him. I bet his photos were great with the wolf bedded and the now wounded elk in the creek both staring at him. After the photographer left the elk made a run for another portion of the creek and soon the wolf tired and left the scene. The cow elk eventually moved to the tree line but had a big wound on its hindquarters. At 6:00 p.m. I found a small blond grizzly this side of the river south of institute. At 6:05 p.m. we had a large grizzly in the big meadow south and west of the Institute. At 6:20 p.m. the sow grizzly with two two year olds appeared in the same big meadow. At 7:20 p.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies in the high divide meadow viewed from Slough Creek bathroom; at 7:50 p.m. Carma spotted a grizzly high north and east of Wrecker Pullout.
Monday - 30 May
At 6:15 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly low on Norris. At 6:35 a.m. the grizzly sow with two two year olds was out south of the Institute. At 8:30 a.m. we had a long gray wolf north and east of midpoint. At 12:50 p.m. we spotted a courting pair of grizzlies on the divide ridge south of the Slough Creek bathroom. At 1:50 p.m. we watched the small blond grizzly south of the Institute. At 2:05 p.m. I saw a grizzly high north of coyote overlook. At 2:45 p.m. we had a grizzly in Round Prairie. At 5:00 p.m. I spotted a courting pair of grizzlies on Ski Slope. At 8:00 p.m. Jennings spotted a grizzly low below the golden meadow.
Tuesday - 31 May
At 5:27 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in a snow bank in the salad bowl. At 6:00 a.m. we had a grizzly on Norris, and a grizzly south of picnic area. At 6:05 a.m. we had a grizzly across the river from picnic area. At 6:15 a.m. I found a small grizzly northeast of picnic. At 6:55 a.m. I found a grizzly low on Norris. At 8:00 a.m. we watched two grizzlies wresting (for over an hour) south of the Institute (equal sized grizzlies, we called them the wrestling brothers). They continued for over 45 minutes just having the time of their lives. At 10:00 a.m. we had two wolves (Agate pack) south of the long pullout in Little America. One got an elk calf and was in view for over an hour. Meanwhile being bored watching the wolf, we noticed two separate grizzlies north way across the river hunting elk calves. One arrived from the west and one for the east and just hunted close together for quite a while. At 11:30 a.m. George pointed out a grizzly south and across from narrows west. At 12:00 p.m. I found the sow and two two year old grizzlies up on Ski Slope. While eating lunch I noticed they had moved into the snow. Yep, another boar had come to court. She's still not ready and great viewing with the cubs together up the snow bank, her in the middle and the big boar following. She charged twice sending him downhill. The last time he came up the huge overhang snow bank and surprised her, she charged but buried herself in the snow near the deep part of the snow bank. The boar got the idea and moved off. At 1:00 p.m. I spotted a blond grizzly on # 3 finger of Norris. At 4:00 p.m. the blond GPS collared grizzly just under Dorothy's Knoll. It wanted to cross the road, but decided to bed and look up every 5 minutes or so to see if all the cars had left. At 7:45 p.m. we had a grizzly in the rendezvous area. At 8:45 p.m. two grizzlies north of coyote overlook. As I headed for Slough Creek Carma called and had a three grizzly north of picnic (looked to be hunting elk calves). At 9:00 p.m. there were two grizzlies in the bottom of the lion meadow, they were wrestling and playing two/equal sized grizzlies so assume two sub adults or more likely two adult boars playing. I did spot a fox high north of picnic area so I had a THREE DOG DAY today.
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