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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

03 - 06 July 2008 Trip Report

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Friday - July 3rd

I got out of work around 4:45 a.m. and made good time going up to Yellowstone. I arrived at Antelope Creek and found a grizzly high in #1 clearing. Luke from Utah was there and Calvin and Lynette from Kansas (wolf watchers). I camped at Tower for the weekend. Really warm this night, woke up in a sweat, but opened the windows.

Friday - July 4th

5:15 a.m. a grizzly in the river corridor south of Dorothy's knoll. This grizzly has been putting on a show lately, chasing bison and amusing itself by lying on its back and waving its legs around in the air. 5:20 a.m. I spotted a small grizzly running over Salad Bowl. At 5:25 a.m. a larger grizzly in the large clearing behind the Jasper Bench. At 5:50 a.m. I found a grizzly with one yearling cub fairly close north of Coyote Overlook (this pair has been around for a few days according to Ralph). At 6:00 a.m. a black bear ran across the A-Z meadow. At 6:30 a.m. the grizzly with the two coy's on Ski Slope (that makes three weekends in a row she has remained on Ski Slope. At 7:00 a.m. a black wolf south of the Institute. Apparently there was a carcass 25 yards off the road the day before, which the rangers moved. Well the wolf didn't know this, and looked around and circled the area looking for the carcass (Ralph got some nice pictures at 25 yards. At 8:00 a.m. a grizzly high in K Meadow. At 8:45 a.m. a black wolf at Footbridge. The rest of the day was spent watching the osprey nest, now only two healthy chicks.

Saturday - July 5th

5:30 a.m. a grizzly near the water south of the Institute. At 5:45 a.m. a small grizzly in A-Z meadow. At 6:00 a.m. the grizzly sow with two coy's up on Ski Slope. At 7:30 a.m. a black bear with two coy's in the tree line south of the Institute. No action for the Druid wolves this a.m., until Ralph was going to check out the fingers of Norris. Three wolves were trying to cross the road just east of Footbridge. Soon the parking lot was full and people stopping in the road to get pictures. Two black wolves crossed and 569F tried to cross, but retreated. Then the two black wolves re-crossed the road and finally all three re-crossed the road and river going south. Meanwhile I found a small blond grizzly in Penny Lane. At around 10:00 a.m. a black wolf crossed the road south to north just west of footbridge. 11:00 a.m. a black bear at Long Pullout near Specimen Ridge. At 4:00 p.m. a large cinnamon black bear crossed the bottoms of Antelope Creek. Saturday night was great viewing. A grizzly in the clearing behind the Jasper Bench. The grizzly sow with two coy's on Ski Slope and the black bear with two coy's in the tree line south of the institute. Major bear jam at the Institute for hours. Meanwhile Ralph found a courting pair of grizzlies high south and west of the Institute. Getting late for courting action, but Carma and Jennings from Idaho got pictures of a black bear couple mating near Yellowstone Picnic area earlier in the day. At 8:30 p.m. the crazy grizzly returned just across the river south of the Institute.

Sunday July 6th

At 5:40 a.m. found the grizzly with one yearling high north of Coyote Overlook, nice viewing as they went slowly over the sky line. At 5:50 a.m. the wolf peoples called to say they had a grizzly in the river corridor south of the institute. We had missed it, it was feeding close to a small herd of bison. At 6:20 a.m. Ralph had a grizzly on Penny Lane (which I saw) and a blond faced grizzly on Dead Puppy Hill (which I missed). At 6:50 a.m. the grizzly with two coy's reappeared on Ski Slope, lower on the ridge.

Other news: Nine pups seen north of footbridge (6 blacks and 3 grays - one is much smaller). Apparently the rumor on other dens such as on Dead Puppy Hill and up Cache Creek isn’t true, only the one den site this year. The Agates up at Antelope Creek remain non-existent for viewing, one or two wolves move thru the area every other day or so. There were two major accidents on Friday night. A head collision on a mile inside the park at South Gate. Had the road closed for close to 4 hours, had units from Old Faithful, Grant, Coulter Bay and Flag Ranch called in, two life flights, I'm sure some didn't make it. And near the Northeast gate, a family left the road, snapped off a tree and the tree fell back on the car. Wildlife viewing because of the warm days is now from 5:15 a.m. too about 7:00 a.m. and then from about 6:00 p.m. to dark. Crowded now, everything fills up every day. An article on the Internet tonight, the most visitors ever for June was this year - over 600,000 visitors

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