Trip Report ~ Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
23 - 27 June 2011
~ June 2011 ~
Thursday - 23 June
At 5:35 a.m. Rick pointed out a grizzly on the skyline northeast of the Institute grazing. At 5:45 a.m. we spotted a gray wolf on a small carcass, probably on elk calf, north of picnic. Soon a grizzly appeared and replaced the wolf on the carcass. At 5:50 a.m. Rick located 754M bedded above the picnic area. I found a small grizzly in the same general area, but only out for a minute. At 6:50 a.m. I found a grizzly in the bowl viewed from picnic. At 6:55 a.m. I spotted another grizzly higher up in the bowl, still viewed from picnic. At 7:15 a.m. we watched a courting pair of grizzlies in K Meadow. At 7:30 a.m. I found a black bear south of midpoint. At 8:15 a.m. we watched a courting pair of grizzlies on Coffee. At 8:50 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear in salad bowl. At 9:00 a.m. I spotted the small blond grizzly above the narrows and southeast of coyote overlook (this grizzly has been seen every day for a week or so, doesn't move far, one day was a jam in the narrows, as it moved into the tree line across from the river to nap under a tree). At 6:00 p.m. I found a black bear south of the Institute. At 9:20 p.m. my last spot for the day was a black bear near the Tower horse corrals.
Friday - 24 June
At 5:35 a.m. I had a grizzly on the skyline northeast of the Institute. At 5:45 a.m. I found a grizzly in the rendezvous area. At 6:00 a.m. I spotted a grizzly on skyline north of the Institute. At 6:15 a.m. we hadtwo grizzlies on Coffee (light wasn't the best, believe a courting pair, but not sure). At 6:55 a.m. we spotted a grizzly on the skyline of the bowl. At 7:30 p.m. we saw a grizzly north of picnic. At 8:00 a.m. we found another grizzly north of picnic (this bear came over the ridge and looked like a black bear (Rich and Rita stayed longer watching and determined it was really a grizzly). At 9:30 a.m. there was a black bear east of footbridge. At 10:00 a.m. Richard and Rita found a small grizzly in a clearing way behind ski slope. At 11:00 a.m. the small blond grizzly out again northeast of coyote above the narrows. At 11:30 a.m. we had a black bear tree line south of the Institute viewed from coyote (Richard found this one). At 12:00 noon I spotted a large black bear on the road near Yellowstone picnic area. At 6:00 p.m. we watched a small grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge viewed from Antelope Creek. At 6:50 p.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge below gunsight viewed from Antelope Creek. At 8:00 p.m. my last spot was another grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge.
Saturday - 25 June
Laurie from Helena saw me in the Tower parking lot and told me that the road to Lamar Valley was closed at fisherman's pullout. Apparently during the night the road just east of confluence east was washed out on one lane. So I decided to head to Hayden for the day. I saw a young fox in the road going over Dunraven which later made this day a THREE DOG DAY. At 7:30 a.m. I stopped and watched the grizzly sow with two yearlings just off the road viewed from wildlife overlook in Hayden. At 7:45 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly on an old carcass across the river from wildlife overlook. Another smaller grizzly was in the area, circling and waiting it's turn on the carcass. At 11:25 a.m. the alpha female of Canyon wolf pack crossed the large sagebrush opening heading to the den. She had made good time as she was seen at Gibbon Meadows in the early morning, and on the road west of Norris later. At 6:00 p.m. Larry and Linda spotted wolves from grizzly overlook. Three adults including the alpha female (almost white now, easy to pick out) and all three pups (two black and one gray). While heading over the pass for camp I found a blue collared grizzly about 1.5 miles north of Dunraven Pass. It was the Dunraven sow that had two cubs of the year (COY's) last year and got into trouble in the fall in Gardiner. She did not have the cubs. At 9:00 p.m. my last bear sighting was a grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge below gunsight viewed from Antelope Creek.
Sunday - 26 June
Road still closed to Lamar Valley. At 5:40 a.m. the grizzly sow with two yearlings in the same area as yesterday morning. She has this thing above being near the river in the morning and then crossing the road towards Mud Volcano for the remainder of the day. At 5:45 a.m. I found a grizzly with one yearling high above skyline in Trout Creek (first look at them this year). It was a poor sighting, they were on the skyline with only the top half visible most of the time and mainly just the sow after the initial sighting. At 12:00 noon I found the blue collared grizzly sow again but higher up digging and turning rocks. At 1:50 p.m. we had a grizzly below gunsight viewed from Antelope Creek. Between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Laurie from Helena spotted two separate grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge viewed from Antelope Creek. At 7:00 p.m. Calvin and Lynette spotted three Agate wolves (471F, 641M and 775M) crossing the lower part of Honeymoon (they had been spotted in the morning so we assumed they were still in the area). They were out for 15 minutes or so, then we lost them in the trees.
After Laurie, Calvin and Lynette left for the evening; I had the best wolf chasing elk I have seen for years. Around 8:30 p.m. the white 471M came out and bedded in the bottoms (she has a really bad limp now). Then one of the males came out, moved north and then back to the female. A couple of cow elk with calves came out of the trees and the chase was on. In the beginning the male chased the cow and 471F chased the calf. Both elk were winning the chase, with the cow turning several times to chase the male. I moved down to the Bear Management sign with the chases still going on. One of the calves actually crossed between me and the road during the chase. The female gave up on the calf but the male now chased the calf. Somehow the other male, not in sight until now, reappeared and got the calf just over the ridge out of view. This chase lasted for over 5 minutes and quite a crowd had formed. The best angle was where I was at trashcan #57, but others were at the rock pullout and #58. A lot of people walked out as the three wolves ate on the carcass that was in view by walking out into the closed area south of #57. Kathy arrived and got a view of the wolves, she hadn't seen 471F in quite a while. At 8:00 p.m. my last bear sighting was a grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge.
Monday - 27 June
Road to Lamar Valley still closed. I found a grizzly in the far far right clearing at 10-4. No family grizzly groups in Hayden this morning. At 7:20 a.m. I was a grizzly running towards the trees viewed from the grizzly overlook. I was heading home this morning, but stopped at Alum Creek for one last view. I found three wolves in their rendezvous area. I headed back to grizzly overlook and also find a grizzly in the lower meadow. This amazed me, since I was at that pullout just 10 minutes ago with nothing in sight.
People in the park: bear watchers: Richard and Rita, Laurie D, Larry and Linda (also like watching the wolves), and Carma and Jennings. Wolf watchers: Calvin and Lynette, Laurie, Dorothy from California, Becky and Chloe, Kathy, Pam and Denny from Utah.
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by John William Uhler
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