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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

17 - 19 October 2008 Trip Report

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

>Friday - October 17th

I left work around noon and made great time, this time of year not a lot of traffic. I decided to spend the evening in Hayden Valley. Found 9 of the Mollies wolf pack from the Grizzly Overlook, only about a 2 minute sighting, as they were running all out after 8 elk. Interestingly, about 15 minutes later a grizzly came out and followed the same line the wolves took. Spent both nights outside of Gardiner. No neighbors either night. About 40 degrees in the mornings.

Saturday - October 18th

Wayne K. from Illinois is up and found eight Slough wolves north of Long Pullout but this side of the river. They had a cow surrounded and then ran 5 elk with a couple spike bulls to the same area. It actually appeared that they were trying to run the elk over a rock cliff, but that didn't work and the elk looked in great shape, stood their ground and the wolves moved off. Mike, Emily's friend, then located the Agate wolves in Yancy's Hole near Tower Junction. They finally moved down thru Buffalo Ford, crossing the river and eventually crossed between Boulder Rock and Boulder Pond pullouts. 7 of 10 made it across, and had a great howling from the trees to encourage the others to follow. Two and then the final one crossed successfully. Then about 11:00 a.m. the Slough wolves had reappeared on top of Junction Butte, chasing elk. Most of the watchers were at Elk Creek, Tower or Wrecker Pullout, but I even saw some of them from west at Boulder. Interestingly, these wolves were still there Saturday night and Sunday morning, I think they got an elk sometime during the night. Meanwhile a few Druid wolves were in the old rendezvous area, so I watched them in the late afternoon. David from Bozeman was up and we finally located a grizzly across from the Institute towards evening.

Sunday - October 19th

Had two foxes on the road on the way in this morning. One just east of the Petrified Tree and the second near the Yellowstone River Bridge, but wasted the opportunity, finding wolves but no coyotes for the morning (only a two dog day). Five wolves were in Lamar this a.m. 302M, 645F, a gray and two black pups. They went west and crossed Jasper Bench finally resting south of Fisherman's. Just before a small storm came it, I located a grizzly in A-Z meadow, pretty big one. On the way out, the watchers had Junction Butte surrounded, and saw three or four wolves on top viewed from the Yellowstone Bridge.

Other news: Had a blue grouse near Hayden Valley. Bald eagles on the Madison and in Lamar. 9 Trumpeter swans in Swan Flat Lake. Only David from Bozeman for bear watchers. But lots of wolf watchers. Bill and Jan from Kansas were leaving today, Jim and Joellen from Iowa have one more week, Bob L was in Hayden Friday but back in Lamar on Sunday. Calvin, is in for about a month. Chloe and Becky from Missoula were up for a long 3 day, Marlene from Utah was also for a three day, Emily and Mike, Wayne K from Illinois, and Anne W. from Colorado, Alan and Sue are leaving in a week or week and a half, to return in the winter. The only bad weather was about an hour on Sunday a.m. And Jim B from Iowa shared his umbrella.

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