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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

13 - 15 July 2007 Trip Report

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - July 13th

I took the afternoon off and left at 12:00 noon. There was quite a bit more traffic now with lots of campers and people towing boats, etc. They are seal topping the road just north of Ashton, Idaho and I lost 35 minutes there. I finally got to Antelope Creek and by 6:00 p.m. the grizzly sow with two coy's (roadside) was down in the bottoms (farthest I have seen them from the road). At 6:30 p.m. the sow with the light colored yearling made a brief appearance high on Honeymoon. At 7:15 p.m. the sow with the three coy's came out in the gap for about an hour (she's the collared one). Ralph was up and had campsite # 16 at Tower Campground, which is really nice. He was in a tent so the constant snoring was not too noticeable.

Saturday - July 14th

At 5:40 a.m. Ralph found the sow with the yearling in the bottoms. Around 6:15 a.m. he found the roadside sow with two coy's on the north side of Honey Moon Clearing (she was out until 6:00 p.m. when I left). At 6:25 a.m. the sow with the three coy's came out in the bottoms way back. At 7:45 a.m. Laurie from Helena found a lone grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge. Soon a second grizzly showed up near the first one. Then she found a grizzly with three coy's on the backside of Specimen Ridge. It took me a few minutes to count all three of the coy's. At 10:00 a.m. I found a large grizzly way back in the bottoms. It was cloudy with a little rain in the morning, so I got an hour nap in at the old bathroom pullout. I went to Lamar in the evening. From coyote overlook Ralph had a small light grizzly way up in the Salad Bowl. Soon after he had a black bear cross above the grizzly in the Salad Bowl. Later a second light grizzly appeared near the first one (Ralph and I think probably two sub adults met up and fed close together). At 8:30 p.m. Rick M. called and wanted to make sure I was seeing the sow with the coy's below the salad bowl (I had missed them but saw them for a few minutes). It was a little quieter in the campground tonight with the exception of the snoring coming from the tent in campsite #16.

Sunday - July 15th

I headed for Lamar and Ralph did Antelope Creek. Ralph called to say the grizzly sow with two coy's was in the road again, had crossed three times then walked down the middle of the road for a while. Meanwhile, Rick M. found five of the Slough Creek wolves north of the old Lamar Picnic area. Five coyotes kept barking and harassing the wolves, who soon moved off to the east, with a few mock charges at the coyotes. I found a sow with two coy's in A-Z around 6:20 a.m. The two light "sub-adult" grizzlies were still close together (10-15 yards) up on the Salad Bowl. Then I spotted a small dark grizzly on Specimen Ridge. There was better viewing from Coyote overlook than the Slough Creek stop sign because of the angle and tree cover. Heading for the jam at Antelope, I stopped and found a large medium brown grizzly way back in the bottoms from trash can # 57. I stopped for a few minutes. I continued heading for the bear jam. The rangers had finally arrived and the sow had gotten into the closure (they have it closed from Mae West to almost trash can # 58 with the old wolf signs -NO STOPPING, PARKING, OR WALKING THE NEXT .5 MILE up). Passing the family above the road about 20 yards I headed up and viewed them from Mae West. After an hour I headed for home. Apparently later she came out again right on the road. The biggest news is that the Hayden Pack with their five puppies is visible from Otter Creek right across the river. Laurie and Margaret were there Friday p.m. and said that the jam was almost 2 miles long. Because of that Lamar Valley is dead. It reminds me of the early wolf years with few people in the pullouts. Antelope is busy with everyone hoping the grizzly with two coy's will come to the road again.

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