Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
13 - 17 June 2012
~ June 2012 ~
Wednesday - 13 June
At 5:30 a.m. I started this day with a black wolf south of the Institute. A Mollie's male, moved to the east this side of the river. At 5:45 a.m. I spotted a grizzly sow with two coy's on ski slope. At 5:50 a.m. I found a sow with one coy west of A-Z in a high meadow. At 6:30 a.m. Mike from Illinois made a great spot on a sitting gray wolf on the snow on top of salad bowl. At 7:30 a.m. we had a grizzly sow with one coy in K meadow. At 3:30 p.m. we watched a grizzly in 10-4 clearing, viewed from the new bathroom pullout near Chittenden Road above Antelope Creek. At 6:45 p.m. we had a grizzly south of midpoint. At 8:00 p.m. I spotted a black bear above the fingers of Norris. I had a three dog day today.
Thursday - 14 June
At 5:10 a.m. a black wolf crosses the east end of footbridge pullout heading north for the den. Rick M. assumed it was 754M because he was in the area. But at 5:25 a.m. I located another dark wolf crossing the Soda Butte Creek east of footbridge. Rick M. got back to the pullout in time to identify it as 754M, the first wolf must have been one of last year's pups, now a yearling. At 5:50 a.m. I watched a grizzly on the skyline south of picnic area (actually near ski slope). At 6:00 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in the bowl viewed from midpoint. At 6:05 a.m. we had a gray wolf north of midpoint (probably left an old carcass in the river south of midpoint). At 6:10 a.m. a grizzly sow with one cub in bear meadow viewed from the Institute (I believe this is the sow that was on the middle ridge south of Slough Creek and has been moving east for the last few days). At 6:30 a.m. we had a second larger grizzly in the bowl, this one viewed from the Institute and the smaller grizzly was still out also. At 6:30 a.m. we had three gray Mollies wolves come to the carcass south of midpoint (Hubbard Hill was the best place, but less traffic at YES pullout). At 7:20 a.m. 820F was found just north of the road and bedded 200 yards above us watching the Mollie wolves across the road and river. At 8:10 a.m. we had a grizzly sow with two coys on ski slope. At 9:05 a.m. we watched a grizzly sow with one coy in K meadow. At 8:00 p.m. I spotted a black and cinnamon bear on ski slope (poor viewing couldn't see but guess a courting pair).
Friday - 15 June
At 6:00 a.m. we watched three gray wolves on the skyline on Specimen Ridge viewed from coyote overlook (Mike from Illinois spotted them). At 6:10 a.m. I found a black bear in the rendezvous area near the treeline. At 6:40 a.m. we watched a grizzly sow with one coy in K meadow. At 7:30 a.m. I found a large black bear south of the Institute. At 10:30 a.m. 820F of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack and a black Mollie wolf met near the old carcass south of Mid Point. I was guessing that hair would fly, but 820F wanted to play but the Mollie's wolf just walked away. At 10:30 a.m. I spotted a grizzly sow with one coy way way south of the Institute, actually just east of the bell meadow. At 11:25 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear was moving west across from fisherman's pullout and was amazed to see 150 or so bison running from it. The incident even scared the cinnamon who ran into the trees for protection. At 11:35 a.m. I spotted a grizzly north of coyote overlook viewed from fisherman's pullout. In mid-afternoon five uncollared wolves, two black and three gray came from the east to the carcass area south of Mid Point. Really a close and long viewing for a lot of tourists. The best pullout was Hubbard Hill but I was at the Institute with only a few people. At one point the two resident coyote adults chased a gray wolf across the road (the wolf was running all out - had the people on Hubbard Hill going for their cameras). Only five grizzlies all day. I did not expect Saturday to be too good.
Saturday - 16 June
I stopped at the Institute in the morning and with a lot of help from Carma and Jennings (mainly Carma) we spotted 13 grizzlies before 8:00 a.m. At 5:30 a.m. the spotting started badly as we had been at the Institute for 15 minutes before Rick M. pointed out a black wolf south and west and this side of the river (we must of been looking higher because it was in view to the naked eye). Over the next 30 minutes we had four different grizzlies in the bowl. One colorful grizzly low and another that moved out of sight early. Then a dark grizzly moved towards the colorful grizzly and the chase was on. The colorful grizzly chased it around then up and over the skyline. When we looked again they came back over the ridge with the black grizzly still running from the colorful grizzly. They settled down grazing relatively close to each other. Then finally another grizzly appeared closer on the bowl, looked to be the biggest of them all.
At 6:30 a.m. we had a grizzly sow with one sow east of the bell. At 7:00 a.m. Carma spotted something in K2 viewed from the Institute, which turned out to be the sow with one coy and a smaller grizzly. After a brief chase by the sow, all three grazed in the clearing for a while. At 8:00 a.m. Carma had a grizzly sow with two yearlings north of the Institute. I have never seen this family, either this year or last. The sow was quite blond and so was one of the two yearlings. The other cub was darker. At 8:00 a.m. we had our thirteen grizzly for the morning from the Institute appeared in no bear meadow. At 8:30 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in K meadow. After a while the grizzly moved out of sight but we still were watching the sow with one coy in K-2. Carma and Jennings arrived after everything was out of sight. Jennings did have a good spot of a rock in K meadow that he tried to convince us was a grizzly (the rock has probably been there for 20,000 years or so). At 5:00 p.m. we had a black bear south of the Institute. At 5:15 p.m. we watched a black bear south of the Institute in the treeline, smaller than the first one. At 6:30 p.m. Kevin, Ralph N.'s son in law made a good spot on a cinnamon black bear in the bottom of bear meadow. At 8:30 p.m. we had a grizzly on ski slope; I was hoping it was the grizzly with two coys, but a single. The sow with two coy's has not been seen in two day now.
Sunday - 17 June
I was heading home for a couple of days so only viewed until 8:30 a.m. or so. At 5:35 a.m. Brent's grandson found a grizzly on ski slope. At 5:40 a.m. he found a grizzly way down in the rendezvous area. At 6:30 a.m. we watched a black bear south and west of footbridge. And at 7:00 a.m. I finally found something - a grizzly sow with two coy's high up below the snow crevice way south and west of footbridge. Mike from Illinois had reported this family on Saturday on his way out of the park. Only took me 24 hours to find them.
The quad mom with two two year old cubs has been seen in and south of Swan Lake Flats lately. And the grizzly sow with two two year olds has been seen near Le Harty Rapids south of Hayden Valley recently. This is really late for both families to still be together. They usually run off the cubs and mate before now (maybe they will keep them a third year - although I have never seen it in Yellowstone Park).
Bear Watchers: Roger and Kay from northern Idaho, (UPS) Mike from Illinois, Lauri D. from Helena, Richard and Rita from Nebraska, Dave and Mark from Utah, Margaret and Jean from South Carolina and Florida, Tom and Carol from Maryland, Gale and Brent from Utah, Margaret and David from Bozeman, Wayne from Washington, Bill and Carol from Oregon, Doug M. from Gardiner, Sydney from Idaho, Ralph N. and his daughter, two granddaughters, and son in law from Montana, Carma and Jennings, and Brent and his grandson (Justin I believe) from Utah. Wolf watchers: Marlene from Utah, Dan and Laurie L, Betzi from Washington, Rick M., Doug M. from Silver Gate, Emily, Kathy L. (just retired and ready to view wolves all the time how), Becky and Chloe from Montana, Dorothy from California, Amy from New York and Amy from Washington. Others seen: Bill W. from California, Don and Jane S. formerly from Pocatello, Idaho, but now traveling the country, Bob W, Nathan and Linda, Alan and Sue, Mike and Emily, McNeil, Jim H. and Ron from Whitewater, Wisconsin (the college).
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