Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Steve Stuller
25 - 26 May 2012
~ May 2012 ~
Friday - 25 May - Part One ~ Grand Teton National Park
Grizzly 610 and her cubs, a beaver, the scenery, and a close encounter of the wolf kind. 610 and her 3 cubs have been hanging out in the Willow Flats/Oxbow Bend area. I saw them everyday somewhere in that general area. All 4 are looking just fine. I did see one of 399's cubs in Willow Flats one day as well. She has left the cubs and went off with another man. The floozie! The other cub is down by Moose, but I never saw it.
I spent some quality time with a beaver back on the Cattleman's Bridge road. There's a small backwater slough near the end of the road that it was in. I was taking photos at point blank range for a good 10 minutes. One morning, I turned east at Jackson Lake Junction and as I approached the Cattlemen's Road, I spotted a wolf 20 feet off the road. He posed for me for a few minutes and then moved on. Turns out it was wolf #77 of the Phantom Springs Pack. Some wolf researchers ID'ed him for me.
I guess the only bad thing in the Tetons was Pacific Creek Road. That hill you have to climb about 1/2 mile back in there was a muddy mess. I got stuck, had to get out and lock up my front hubs to put it into 4 wheel drive. My truck was a muddy mess once I got out of there. I had to use my ice scraper to get some of it off, it was so thick.
The reason I saw the wolf was because he was coming back looking for his kill. There was a mule deer carcass about 30 feet off the road. The rangers decide to move it. If 610 had found it, it would have been a problem that close to the road. So, he calls in a front loader to move it. A big one! The kind they use to clear boulders from an avalanche. So it drives up to the carcass and immediately sinks into the mud up to it's axles. After that, the ranger grabs the 30 pound carcass and just drags it away by the ankle. Hunting mosquitoes with a bazooka. I don't know how they got the front loader out of the mud, but they did. On a positive note, the ruts they made have created a new wetlands for migratory waterfowl.
BUMPER TO BUMPER BEARS
One day as I was coming back from Colter Bay, I stopped at Willow Flats overlook to have a peek. I see a huge bear jam on the south side, not far from Jackson Lake Dam. As I get down to Jackson Lake Junction, I see the bears. They fooled everyone at the bear jam, by heading east out of the willows instead of south. I have the 4 bears all to myself for about 5 minutes until word gets down to the crowd and they all head up there. I had my tripod and camera set up right at the front bumper of my truck. This young blonde ranger comes up and says I need to move back just a little. OK, fine. We make it back to my back bumper and she says, "OK, this is good." Seriously?? That 14 feet made a difference?? OK, whatever!
Saturday - 26 May - Part Two ~ Yellowstone
I saw lots of bears in the park. There's a sow and cub hanging around the Lake/Fishing Bridge area. I got some good shots of them one morning. I also saw a large black bear near Fishing Bridge Junction. I've never seen a blackie in that area, only griz.
There's a sow and 2 cubs out in Hayden in the Trout Creek/Elk Antler creek area. They were out there the entire time I was there.
I got to see quad mom out in Swan Lake Flats one day. She's down to 2 cubs now. There's a couple of black bears hanging around the Hoodoos and Mammoth area.
Bear Alley (Petrified Tree to Tower) is just ate up with black bears. They're everywhere.
Saw a griz with 2 cubs up on Specimen Ridge, and there was another griz with a cub roadside about half way between Slough Creek Road and the west end of Lil' America.
I had my own private wolf out in Hayden one evening. People would slow down and look, but I guess they assumed I was watching bison or sagebrush or something. After about 15 minutes, someone finally spotted the wolf and we be jammin after that.
It was a solid black wolf. I don't think it was collared, but it was out there about 200 yards. He was mousing along, gradually making his way towards me, but reversed course at about 100 yards out. He eventually discovered an elk leg bone out there and was in woof heaven with his prize.
Out in Lamar one evening, a couple of wolves were finishing off the morning kill in Soda Butte Creek, just north of the Footbridge turnout. One was a beautiful white wolf, and the other was a smaller, darker blend in color. The smaller wolf was clearly submissive to the white wolf. Every move he made said "Omega". I hope my photos turn out OK from that. It was cloudy and getting late so I had to use a lot of ISO's to get some shutter speed. As many times as I've been to the park, I have seen wolves on a kill before, but this was the first time it was close enough to get some photos.
I looked for grey owls. I looked for them a lot. They spent a lot of time hiding from me.
It's windy in Yellowstone. I know that. Always is, always will be. Tuesday was something else though!! Usually my concern is the wind shaking my tripod. Tuesday, it was difficult to keep ME steady in the wind. The wind was blowing down trees across the roads. The power kept going out at Lake and Fishing Bridge all afternoon from the wind blowing trees into the power lines. I heard power was out at Canyon, Grant and Old Faithful as well.
I drove by Mary Bay. The waves on the lake were approaching 3 feet tall and the spray was blowing across the road as the waves crashed the shore. Lot's of blowing sand out there too.
I'm sitting in my truck at Otter Creek picnic area, just south of the Chittenden Bridge. I think I stopped to put something in the trash can and to fiddle with my camera. All of a sudden, a government car comes flying into the parking lot and about 30 mph, slams on the brakes and stops diagonally directly in front of my truck. It looked like an FBI move when they want to prevent someone from escaping in their car. I'm like...WTH?? Then, the passenger door flies open and this girl jumps out real quick and starts to.....vomit all over the parking lot!
I couldn't resist the moment. "NO FEEDING THE ANIMALS!!"
I can't believe I didn't run into anyone I know out there. I didn't see a single Loon decal, and only saw one Ynet decal, but that was a drive by as I was on foot no where near them.
I managed to screw up the one planned meet that I had scheduled. I had the wrong time. Here's the kicker: I was the one that organized the meet! I sukk!
I'll fill in some details later once I start posting some fotos.
Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park
|I n d e x|
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|Gardiner, Montana||Silver Gate, Montana||West Yellowstone, Montana||Cooke City, Montana|
|Livingston, Montana||Cody, Wyoming||Jackson Hole, Wyoming||Yellowstone National Park|
|Bighorn Rams||Grizzly Bear at Old Faithful|
|Bison / Buffalo at Old Faithful||Grizzly Bear near Roaring Mountain|
|Black Bear||Grizzly Sow Nursing Cubs|
|Black Wolf||Otters at Trout Lake|
|Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel||Otter at Yellowstone Lake|
|Grizzly Bear at Blacktail Ponds|
|Beehive Geyser Eruption||Old Faithful with Bison|
|Beehive Geyser Eruption Two||Pocket Basin|
|Fan and Mortar||Roaring Mountain|
|Grand Geyser||Rocket and Grotto|
|Old Faithful One||West Thumb|
|Cave Falls||Mesa Falls||Undine Falls|
|Gibbon Falls||Rustic Falls||Upper Falls|
|Lower Falls||Tower Fall||Wraith Falls|
|The Great Outdoors Net||Great Outdoor Recreational Places|
|Gardiner, Montana||World Humanity|
by John William Uhler
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