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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal ~ 2008 Trip Report Page

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ 06 - 08 June 2008 Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - June 6th

I left work around noon with a temperature of around 58 degrees. Going thru Island Park and Yellowstone Park the temperature dipped to about 37. Lots of rain, snow, sheet on the way up, but most of it was ahead of me. Lots of sleet on the roads, but pretty much clear by the time I was going through. There was a slide off between Norris and Mammoth, lost about 25 minutes. Doug M. was working the traffic and got to see him later at Swan Flat's. At around 5:00 p.m. found a small grizzly hunting elk calves south of the Institute. Most of the grizzly and black bears and even the wolves are pretty much hunting elk calves. I'm not sure if it’s because of the severe winter that is still hanging on, but guess so. Lots of elk in the valleys because too much snow up high where they usually go this time of year to have the calves. At 6:00 p.m. found a pair of grizzlies high on Norris Mountain viewed from Trash Can (wasn't sure if a pair of sub adults or a courting pair. Ralph was up a couple of days earlier and had had both groups on Norris. At 7:00 p.m. noticed a few people at Picnic area glassing south. I pulled in and Sid from Southern California had a grizzly, yep hunting elk calves. At 7:40 p.m. a black bear in Crystal. At 8:00 p.m. the wolf pup at Slough Creek den site. At 8:05 p.m. a large black bear in the Slough Creek bottoms. At 8:20 p.m. a courting pair of grizzlies below Specimen trail. The sow wanted to hunt elk calves, but the boar was interested in her. A lot of running and following until dark. Most of the weekend temperatures were between 32 and 40 degrees with a wind that made it seem colder. Ralph was camped at Tower.

Saturday - June 7th

At 5:30 a.m. had a bunch of elk looking from Boulder Pullout. A grizzly hunting calves. It must be getting near summer now, the elk had three calves already in the herd. At 6:15 a.m. a grizzly south of Coyote Overlook, past the river but this side of the bench. At 6:45 a.m. 11 Slough wolves were north of Coyote Overlook. Ralph had noticed a cow elk dying SE of Dorothy's for a couple of days. Well this a.m. it died and the wolves spent most of the morning trying to cross the road to get at it. As usually happens, three of the 11 crossed and feasted. The rest were sitting north of the road watching and waiting. Later a group of 7 bedded NE of Coyote and when a grizzly walked thru them the chase was on. The grizzly ran for about 300 yards and then decided it was bigger than the wolves. He sat and watched the wolves for over 20 minutes, oddly looking at them. The wolves found and killed an elk calf also. At 9:15 a.m. Ralph made a great spot of a courting pair on the ridge between Cache Creek/Norris Mountain. At 10:30 a.m. a black bear on Jasper Bench eating on an old bison carcass. At 11:30 a.m. Ralph had a pair of sub adults low on Norris Mountain (probably the blond and it's sibling I had on the fingers the weekend before. At 11:45 a.m. the bears had disappeared, but reappeared being chased by a cow elk and a black wolf. Not sure who killed the calf, but the sub adults claimed it and the wolf only got chased plenty by the cow elk. This was happening about 3/4 mile from the road, when someone noticed a wolf at 100 yards approaching the road. Finally at 6:00 a.m. found my first grizzly coy's of the year. Ralph said the wolf people had spotted her on Dead Puppy Hill a day before, and she reappeared there again. She was hunting elk calves too.

Sunday - June 8th

At 5:30 a.m. I found 5 wolves NE of Dorothy's Knoll. Surprisingly they were Druid wolves not the Slough's who were at that place yesterday a.m. At 5:40 a.m. a grizzly south of picnic area. At 6:05 a.m. I located a large grizzly high on Norris, hunting elk calves. Ralph stayed to watch this grizzly and called 15 minutes later to inform me that the grizzly found an elk calf (must have been small only took him 15 - 20 minutes to dispose of it. At 6:23 a.m. a black bear south of picnic in the tree line. At 7:10 a.m. a grizzly SW on confluence. At 8:15 a.m. a grizzly sow with two yearlings near the Slough Creek den (only bear not hunting elk calves all weekend). At 8:50 a.m. a courting pair of black bears near Specimen Ridge. At 9:00 a.m. a black bear in Crystal. At 9:05 a.m. a large cinnamon black bear in Crystal. At 9:20 a.m. a black bear crossed the road at the Yellowstone Bridge, then reappeared hunting calves and was visible from Tower Junction.

Other news. Rosie/Sarah ran into a boar black bear and got roughed up a little, and only the cinnamon cub has been seen lately (apparently the boar got the black cub). Sid had a grizzly with one coy cross the road at Boulder pullout between Trash Can 57 and 58 at Antelope Creek. The Agate's have moved their den across the Yellowstone back into Antelope Creek. Calvin told me one pup had been seen in Antelope Creek by the wolf plane. Gas is about $4.20 a gallon in Yellowstone but the pumps can't go to $4.00 so its two times $2.10. Both Dunraven Pass and the Beartooth highway were closed Thursday night and did NOT reopen as of Sunday noon. A moose and a calf have been seen at the Soda Butte picnic area. The moose calf that got butted at Floating Island Pond (I guess the cow got butted too), both are doing good. Lots of people and cars in the park, but with the weather not all the campgrounds have been filling.

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