Trip Report ~ Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
11 - 16 June 2011
~ June 2011 ~
Saturday - 11 June
I came up from Jackson and the south this morning. I found the grizzly sow with one cub of the year (coy) near Indian Pond about 9:35 a.m. Near 10:00 a.m. I spotted a grizzly just above the road at Sledge Bay. At 1:40 p.m. I had a cinnamon black bear off the road near the entrance to Blacktail Plateau Drive. At 6:30 p.m. I found a small grizzly in A-Z meadow in Lamar Valley. At 6:35 p.m. we had a black bear in a clearing to the east of A-Z. At 6:40 p.m. a black bear crossed the 2nd sliver below ski slope. At 7:00 p.m. I found a black bear in the diamond (square meadow). At 7:20 p.m. a large black bear north of coyote overlook was spotted by Margaret from Bozeman. At 7:20 p.m. I found a blond grizzly high south and west of fisherman's pullout (this is really above the narrows). At 8:00 p.m. we had a grizzly on the clearing behind and above ski slope. At 8:30 p.m. we saw a black bear near the road at Elk Creek. Mom was up with me for the week and we spent four nights in Gardiner.
Sunday - 12 June
We were coming past Hellroaring Overlook when Laurie from Helena called on the CB saying Margaret had found a grizzly sow (with a GPS Collar) with one coy in the Slough Creek bottoms. They were still out when we arrived at 6:30 a.m. The coy was running all around mom and we had good viewing for about 30 minutes. At 7:15 am a grizzly was spotted by Mike from Illinois north of coyote overlook, and it finally made it across the road towards fisherman's pullout about 7:15 a.m. At 7:45 a.m. heard on the CB from Laurie that they had grizzlies south of trashcan (we turned around and headed back, being in a large bison jam near the confluence). It turned out to be four adult grizzlies running and moving west (a courting pair and two other large grizzlies). Note: about an hour later Bill and Bobbie from Texas had them going over ski slope; and two hours later I spotted them still going south on the 2nd ridge way above ski slope. At 8:00 a.m. we had a black bear in the tree line in the rendezvous area. At 9:20 a.m. Ed and Bob had a large grizzly in the rendezvous area. At 9:30 a.m. we had a black bear in tree line near the rendezvous area. At 9:40 a.m. I spotted a black bear in a small clearing high south of trashcan viewed from the hill above the confluence. At 10:45 a.m. the small resident grizzly was back out south and west of fisherman's in a high clearing. At 6:00 p.m. we had a grizzly south of the rendezvous area.
Monday - 13 June
At 6:15 a.m. I found a grizzly high in the middle clearing south of Slough Creek bathroom. Soon Bob from Utah spotted a second grizzly in the same area. At 6:20 a.m. Ed from Utah had a grizzly low north of Slough Creek. At 7:00 a.m. we had a grizzly in the bell clearing south of coyote overlook. At 7:05 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in a high clearing behind ski slope. Both these sightings were really just dots in the scope, quite far away. At 8:00 a.m. we had a black bear in the tree line in the rendezvous area. At 8:10 a.m. we watched a dark grizzly south of the confluence. At 8:50 a.m. I found a large black bear south of the Institute. At 10:20 a.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies about 250 yards from Wrecker Pullout (note: Ed and Bob and Jim had them last night, but I arrived too late to see them). While watching the courting pair, a young couple from Pocatello found a grizzly sow with one coy high across the river in the sagebrush. I picked them up later from Rick's Pullout (couldn't see a collar but the bears were moving well and quite a ways away). At 10:45 a.m. we had a small black bear run towards the car at wrecker pullout, after trying to cross the road. At 11:15 a.m. mom spotted a black bear with two coy's in Elk Creek. At 11:45 a.m. we saw a black bear roadside near upper Hellroaring. At 5:20 p.m. we had two grizzlies south and west of fisherman's pullout (one was the resident small blond grizzly). At 5:35 p.m. we had a grizzly high in A-Z meadow. At 6:00 p.m. we had another larger grizzly also high in A-Z meadow.
Tuesday - 14 June
We decided to go south this morning. At 7:30 a.m. we had a grizzly in Alum Creek. At 7:45 a.m. the alpha female, a black yearling and a gray yearling were spotted from the grizzly overlook and we watched them on and off for the next 45 minutes losing them near Mud Volcano. At 10:00 a.m. we found a black bear at calcite. At 7:00 p.m. we saw the resident blond grizzly high above fisherman's pullout viewed from coyote overlook. At 7:10 p.m. we had a black bear in the big meadow south of coyote overlook. At 8:00 p.m. we spotted a courting pair of grizzlies high north of picnic.
Wednesday - 15 June
At 7:30 a.m. we spotted a grizzly south of midpoint viewed from coyote overlook. At 8:00 a.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies high in the bowl viewed from midpoint. At 8:15 a.m. we watched a large black bear also in the bowl. At 9:00 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly in the tree line near the rendezvous area. At 9:15 a.m. we watched a really blond grizzlies above trashcan. At 10:00 a.m. we watched two black bears chasing an elk calf north of the large pullout near Yellowstone Picnic area (the Specimen Trailhead). We watched as the cow elk cut in back of the calf and ahead of the lead black bear giving the calf a little more space (over the hill and out of sight - hope it out ran the black bears). On the way south to Jackson, we saw a large grizzly at the turnoff to Fishing Bridge. At 6:40 p.m. we watched a large black bear grazing near the Jackson Lake dam in the Grand Tetons.
Thursday - 16 June
We only spotted two black bears for the day. Both high on the mountains viewed from Lupine Meadows.
Lots of bear watchers up: Bill and Bobbie (former campground hosts at Tower Campground), Laurie from Helena, Margaret from Bozeman, Jack from Bozeman, Wayne form Washington, Mike from Illinois. Wolf watchers were a little thin, Marlene from Utah, and Becky and Chloe from Montana were up. Apparently the bison calf that was seen with two bison bulls is still following them and eating grass. The ranger Collet from Tower will retire this year (mandatory for law enforcement rangers at 57). We still are not seeing many grizzly bear family groups (didn't see the grizzly sow with one yearling this trip). They had been seeing up to three wolf pups from the grizzly overlook in Hayden Valley. Lots of babies now (we saw a mule deer fawn, a couple of antelope fawns, moose calves in the Teton's, bighorn lambs and lots of elk calves. Slough Creek and Pebble Creek campgrounds remain closed, so Tower Campground and Mammoth have been filling every day. Two badger dens - one near Wrecker grade and one east of long pullout, both real close to the road.
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