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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal ~ 2008 Trip Report Page

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ 16 - 18 May 2008 Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - May 16th

I left work a little before noon. Weather was clear and hot for the weekend. Highs in the low 70's and lows above freezing. Boy are all the rivers and creeks muddy and high now. At 5:00 p.m. found a black bear on Garnett Hill. At 5:45 p.m. had a cinnamon bear high SW of the Slough Creek stop sign. At 6:15 p.m. had a courting pair on the small openings behind Ski Slope. Jim B from Iowa had had two sub adults earlier in the evening near Dead Puppy Hill, but by the time I arrived they were up on Penny Lane and then crossed Norris Mountain on the sky line. Running out of light on the way back to Mammoth for the evening found a grizzly on the top of Junction Butte.

Saturday - May 17th

At 5:45 a.m. found my first moose in the park for the year crossing A-Z meadow. At 6:00 a.m. found seven Slough Creek wolves bedded near the den site. At 7:15 a.m. Ralph found two gray wolves at the Confluence. We also relocated the two sub adults way back but lower on Norris. At 9:00 a.m. the courting pair crossed the large clearing above and east of the bench, we were at Dorothy's Knoll. After a short nap, I visited Tower for the first time this year. The osprey has two eggs, the peregrine isn't nesting in its normal site this year, but Elva believes they are nesting in the area. Also a Prairie Falcon in the area. I found the red ear tagged black bear sleeping off the road at Calcite with her cinnamon and black cubs of the year. At 3:00 p.m. had my first family group of the year from the confluence - a grizzly sow with two yearlings. (Ralph had found a grizzly sow with one yearling in Little America a day or two prior--you can see how slow it's been, still no coy grizzlies had been sighted). Had a bold black bear crossing the clearing NE of the Institute then crossed north of Mid Point. At 7:00 p.m. a nice sized grizzly high south of Slough Creek stop sign. At 8:00 p.m. a black bear out quite a ways at Elk Creek. Nearing dark Ralph radioed me on a courting pair of grizzlies from Frog Rock (Children's Fire Walk). By the time I arrived, they weren't courting anymore, but did see them. Near Blacktail Ponds, a large grizzly east of the road just at dark.

Sunday - May 18th

At 5:30 a.m. could only find one sleeping wolf at the Slough Creek den (note: they are still only seeing a total of two pups / with three pregnant females). At 6:00 a.m. had a large grizzly on A-Z, then a large grizzly down across from the Institute, and then a small grizzly just pass the bench all viewed from Coyote Overlook. Most of the wolf watchers hadn't passed me from the east yet this morning, so I headed east to find Footbridge full of cars. The Druids had a kill in the Soda Butte Creek between Hitching Post and Footbridge. I was only there for a few minutes, hate the crowds, but saw 6 wolves, two had crossed the road, one going to the carcass and the other returning to the den area. Mark S from Minnesota was up and found a grizzly south of Trash Can Pullout near the tree line. At 7:25 a.m. found a small cinnamon black bear across the bench SW of Coyote Overlook. At 10:00 a.m. the grizzly with two yearlings appeared south of the Institute, good show, out for quite a while. Heading home a small grizzly bedded north of Curve Pullout near Junction Butte. And a road side grizzly near the Grizzly Lake Trail head between Mammoth and Norris.

Other news: I missed an otter at the confluence by a minute or two. A large beaver at the confluence (they have been seeing up to five there on and off). Found a goat north of the Institute on Sunday all by himself. With the weather being nice, the park was quite crowded, Mammoth Campground filled Saturday night and probably Friday night as well. Usually high amounts of pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep in the valley again this year. Ralph is still seeing the black sow with two black coy's on Garnett Hill daily. The Oxbow wolf pack did move its den but only about 100 yards, but completely out of sight this time

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