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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal ~ 2008 Trip Report Page

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ 20 - 22 June 2008 Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - June 20th

I left work a little earlier and made it to Tower Campground before 4:00 p.m. I found a campsite for the weekend. At 4:45 p.m. I found a black and a cinnamon bear in Crystal Creek. At 5:20 p.m. I spotted a grizzly with two coys in the small clearing east of Square/Diamond meadow (oddly in the same place as a grizzly from the Saturday before that had killed an antelope fawn). Boy are those coys small for late June (just the size of ravens). At 5:40 p.m., I spotted a grizzly in the clearing east of A-Z meadow and I saw a big beaver come up steam sitting at Footbridge. Between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. a black then a gray wolf in the old Druid rendezvous area. The weekend had great weather, with the lows in the high thirties to low forties, highs in the 70's.

Saturday - June 21th

I decided to do Antelope Creek this morning, since I hadn't spent any morning's up there. At 5:10 a.m. I saw a courting pair run over the ridge in the high clearing between Question Mark and Honeymoon. They wrestled and played for about 15 minutes, then a really large dark grizzly walked on the skyline above them, apparently neither bears saw each other. The action soon moved to the top of Honeymoon where the courting pair joined a single sow. then the large grizzly came into the clearing. The smaller boar from the courting pair moved off, and the large grizzly joined and briefly mated with the sow. Meanwhile the smaller boar joined the other sow and briefly mated her. Then they all decided to feed, all within no more than a 30 yard circle. Soon I noticed another nice sized grizzly feeding in the rocky area to the north but still in Honeymoon. Soon it too moved into the area with the four other feeding grizzlies. Later the large grizzly moved off, and the late arrival grizzly moved off. New arrivals to the scene thought they had a grizzly sow with two 2 year olds, but once in a while the smaller boar would momentary mount one or the other sows. This was really crazy bear behavior. I just assumed courting season was coming to an end, and none of the bears were that interesting in courting any longer. I returned to Antelope Creek for the evening. At 6:00 p.m. I spotted a large grizzly in the flats near par 4. At 6:30 p.m. there was a grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge left of gun sight. At 7:00 p.m. I saw a grizzly in the high clearing we have now named par 6. At 8:00 p.m. the large grizzly, I think, from this morning, crossed Honeymoon low and from right to left, then moved across the bottoms (big bear, didn't need binoculars to see him). I spotted a black bear south of the Tower Campground exit around 9:00 p.m.

Sunday - June 22nd

At 5:20 a.m. there was a grizzly south of picnic area. Then I found a black wolf or two (ended up being 4 blacks and 2 grays) on a fresh kill this side of the old Druid rendezvous area. It must have been really fresh, no ravens yet and they were all eating quickly. At 5:45 a.m., a large grizzly was working the tree line SW of the confluence. At 5:50 a.m. a nice sized grizzly just across the river south of Jackson Grade finally found the carcass and displaced the wolves around 6:30 a.m. A wolf watcher, Dorothy from S. California pointed out a black wolf near the confluence. At 6:00 a.m. I found the grizzly sow with 2 coys on Ski Slope. At 7:45 a.m. I spotted a black bear and a cinnamon bear near Rainy Lake (probably two boars, apparently the cinnamon had been an item with a small black bear sow, but the larger black boar ran off and replaced the small cinnamon, but he stayed in the area). At 8:00 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in the bottom of # 2 at Antelope. At 8:25 a.m. I saw a small black bear on the far, far right clearing of 10-4. At 9:00 a.m. I found a grizzly with a yearling cub at Trout Creek in the Hayden. Note: Bob L. has been sending a lot of time in Hayden (working on a bear film), and has seen zero coys and only two family groups both with one yearling cub each. He has been seeing a lone black wolf usually on the east side of the Yellowstone River fairly regulary.

Other news: The good osprey nest has three chicks. The big horn ewes and lambs are now on the Tower side of the cliffs near the osprey nest. The sand hill chicks (two) are still putting on a nightly show coming back to the nest for the evening. The adults put them to bed every night. The Agate den site is apparently on the Antelope Creek side of the Yellowstone River but way back of like par #3 and close to the river. There are very few sightings at Antelope Creek of wolves at all.

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