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Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

04 - 06 June 2010

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ June 2010 ~

Black bear by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Friday - 04 June

It has been raining for about a week in Yellowstone, all the rivers and streams are really high now. Someone said that the flow rates on a few, including the Lamar hit all time highs on Saturday. Slough Creek looks like a lake below the first pullout. I got out of work just after noon and despite a lot of traffic and rain squalls got over Dunraven Pass before 4:00 PM. I hit a black bear jam at Calcite Overlook on the way thru. At 5:45 PM I found three gray Agate wolves in Crystal (exactly the same route when we found them when you were up - heading east in the large meadow in Crystal). Rain and fog in the high clearings, but Laurie from Helena called and had a courting pair north of Coyote Overlook. The sow wanted to cross the road, but the tourists wouldn't let her, so she kept trying. The boar wasn't really fond of the road and would run away and up hill when she went to the road, then rejoined her when she came away from the road. I camped at Tower Fall Campground.

Saturday - 05 June

Rained a little early and except for a few hours of sun around noon, was cloudy all day. The previous days in Lamar were dominated by two separate bison carcasses (natural deaths, I assume). One was south across from Fisherman's Pullout and the second was at the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte. Both carcasses were pretty much gone, but they still had some visitors. At 6:00 AM someone pointed out a grizzly on Jasper Bench. It eventually arrived at the carcass, which had two wolves on earlier (I missed them). The grizzly eventually left heading south, then a large cinnamon black bear arrived, then another grizzly, who eventually crossed the road to the north near Coyote Overlook. Someone also pointed out a grizzly high north of Coyote Overlook about 6:30 AM. At 8:15 AM the courting pair were north and east of Coyote Overlook, best viewed from west of Fisherman's. At 6:55 PM I spotted a grizzly low on Norris Mountain hunting elk calves (viewed from the Confluence). At 8:00 PM, Marshall and Linda pointed out a grizzly above the wolf den at Slough (now named the Lamar Canyon Pack (754M, 755m, 06 female and four pups). Apparently it had been close to the den and was pushed away by the wolves. Ralph was up at Antelope Creek for the evening and had a courting pair of grizzlies moving up hill on the backside of Specimen Ridge. He called when them crested the hill and we found them on Specimen. Meanwhile, Marshall looking for the courting pair of grizzlies found three Agate wolves further up on the skyline. Near dark, one black adult and one gray pup were visible at the den area (which has moved from behind the second aspen to what they call the sagebrush den - in a clearing but heavily sagebrush). No rain Saturday night, but cloudy all night.

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Sunday - 06 June

It was cloudy but good visibility at first light, but then started to rain and the visibility dropped making viewing difficult. Lots of people out looking but only found a black bear on the Fisherman's carcass and Laurie from Helena had a black bear south of Long Pullout. Missed opportunities: Friday night Ralph had a grizzly with two yearlings in Slough, that I missed. Saturday the grizzly with three coy's with a boar briefly chasing on Specimen, a grizzly sow with two coy's on the fingers in mid afternoon, and a grizzly sow with one coy low in the trees near Soda Butte Cone, plus the grizzly with four coy's killed a elk calf at Swan Flats on Saturday, Sunday a black bear with two yearlings at the Yellowstone River Bridge and later left the cubs and caught a elk calf near the river (about $50,000.00 worth of camera equipment as I went by). On the way home a grizzly with two coys high on Dunraven 25 yards above the road (only about $15,000.00 of cameras on this one). Most bear watchers think this grizzly is the sow that had and lost the four cubs a couple years ago. One day it was above the new bathroom pullout near Chittenden Road and crossed the road thru the traffic. It is going to the same places the other grizzly did.

Other Sightings

A beaver in the Lamar / Soda Butte confluence. A badger south of Trash can. The golden eagle still on the nest down Slough Creek. Lots and Lots of water everywhere.

Wolves near Canyon by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

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