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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

12 - 14 October 2007 Trip Report

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - October 12th.

I checked the weather and took Friday off to make it a three day weekend. Ralph N. was up for the weekend and camped at Mammoth. The temperature was about 36 degrees at Mammoth in the a.m. It doesn't get light until just after 7:00 a.m. now. Ralph saw a grizzly in Lamar. He was just west of Fisherman's pullout when I arrived. The grizzly was north of the river and south of the road. The grizzly was out all day and by evening it was south of the institute. Also, there was a black and gray wolf south of Fisherman's pullout. It was a really nice day, so we did the Lawn Chairs from the confluence. About 2:00 Ralph found a grizzly on Norris Mountain above the rock face. About 3:00 p.m. I found a black wolf coming down off Norris heading to the west (it ended up in the old Druid rendezvous area). At 5:00 p.m. we found a grizzly in the meadow west and south of the institute (how it got there without us seeing it remains a mystery - I think it was bedded and just got up). At 5:30 p.m. we saw a really small grizzly crossing square meadow. Anne W. called and had a grizzly in Crystal drainage. I couldn't find the grizzly for a while but I did locate a black bear with one cub. Later the grizzly reappeared. I did have a three dog day - a fox in the river corridor at narrows east, lots of coyotes, most near a bull elk carcass near Soda Butte and the wolves.

Saturday October 13th.

At 8:15 a.m. I saw a black wolf north of Fisherman's pullout (apparently there were about 10 wolves, but I only saw one). At 8:45 a.m. I saw a grizzly south of the old picnic area (it moved east to Dead Puppy hill and then back west towards Cache Creek). 11:00 a.m. I spotted a black wolf on ski slope (this is the black male from the Jasper Bench trio, but only he has been seen lately). 11:30 a.m. the black bear and cub were near the Crystal Creek. At 2:40 p.m. I watched a grizzly on ski slope (out for over an hour and half). At 6:00 p.m. had a grizzly on the high side of Hellroaring overlook, almost to the trees, over 3 - 5 miles away. Friday night the pizza wasn't that good at the K-bar so we had burgers at the Best Western.

Sunday October 14th.

I started every day at Hellroaring Overlook and it never panned out. Just at first light Jim B from Iowa called that he had a grizzly 10 yards from his truck at Midpoint. It took me a good half hour to get there, but the grizzly was still moving south near the river south of Midpoint. Only about 30 cars were in the valley this morning and 28 of them were at Dorothy's Knoll. The Agates, at least 12 strong, were east of A-Z. Moving west, the Slough Creek pack was in Slough Creek (17 of them) and a large grizzly was leaving the carcass out of sight in the river corridor. Another black wolf was howling on Dave's Hill (apparently a Druid yearling trying to join the Slough Creek pack). I stopped at Hellroaring Overlook on the way home, and made a great spot of 10 grays and 2 black wolves near Hellroaring Creek (should mention here that the plane circled three times over the spot where I found the wolves--interesting that the plane apparently wasn't looking for wolves but apparently was doing a beaver survey. Saw 42 wolves this a.m., not bad for a bear watcher. Other news: Only a few hawks left, no sign of ospreys, but saw quite a few bald and a couple golden eagles near the rivers and creeks and near the wolf kills. A lot of elk have returned to the valley. One herd in Hellroaring had, I guess, over three hundred alone. A dead wolf was found in Slough Creek by some fisherman on Saturday, a yearling. They assume it’s a Slough Creek wolf, but not sure, apparently killed by other wolves.

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