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Trip Report ~ Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

10 - 14 July 2011

Yellowstone Wolf ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

~ July 2011 ~

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

Sunday - 10 July

I left early around 3:35 a.m. and made good time mostly in the dark. I have heard for years that the Canyon wolf pack, and before that the Hayden wolf pack used the Chittenden Road. And at 6:25 a.m. as I passed the turn off to the bridge, the white alpha female was coming across on the yellow line. I pulled over and soon 712M and the black yearling female followed her across. They moved slowly across, then slowly crossed the road again and moved west. I had them all to myself. I glassed the Hayden Valley but was more interested in finding a campsite for my visit. So I headed over Dunraven Pass to check out Tower. Ken, a wildlife guide, was at trashcan # 57 and had two separate grizzlies in the bottoms of Antelope Creek. I did find a campsite at Tower and headed out to Lamar. At 9:45 a.m. I spotted a black bear in Crystal Drainage viewed from Slough Creek bathroom. At 11:10 a.m. I found a bunch of cars east of the Soda Butte cone. Both alpha's the 06 female and 755M were feeding on a carcass that was just vacated by a grizzly (which I missed). The 06 female eventually crossed the road heading back to the den area. 755M headed for the trees to bed down, as it was getting pretty warm by now. At 5:00 p.m. I returned to the carcass site (possibly a bull moose, appeared to get a glimpse of a dark antler once in a while). At 5:30 p.m. a second grizzly observed in the tree line across the river from the carcass. At 6:20 p.m. I had a large dark grizzly in the rendezvous area. At 6:20 p.m. we had a grizzly south of midpoint. At 7:03 p.m. we watched two black pups, one gray pup and a gray yearling make a brief (a couple of minutes), appearance in the diagonal clearing (only place the pups have even been seen so far). At 7:40 p.m. I spotted a black bear near the place where the wolf pups were out earlier. At 7:35 p.m. we had a black bear in the rendezvous area. The drive back to the campsite was a long one - three separate bison jams, one near Roosevelt Junction was backed up to the Yellowstone River Bridge.

Monday - 11 July

At 5:25 a.m. I found a grizzly in the river corridor south of Soda Butte east - was leaving the carcass area, nothing left of it except the closed for bear signs. At 6:00 a.m. two wolves observed far south of the confluence chasing antelope fawns, there were 6 of the 7 adult wolves and they went out of sight with the fawns still out running them. At 7:00 a.m. we had a grizzly in the rendezvous area in the tree line. At 7:25 a.m. I spotted a grizzly on the # 3 finger of Norris. At 8:25 a.m. we had a grizzly in A-Z meadow. At 9:30 a.m. I found a black bear at the Yellowstone River picnic area. At 4:30 p.m. we had a black and a cinnamon bear together in a clearing south of the # 1 finger of Norris. At 5:00 p.m. I found a black bear NE of footbridge. At 5:05 p.m. we had two separate grizzlies on # 2 finger of Norris (separate grizzlies I think were grazing near each other, then got close together, then separated and moved off in different directions, but later reappeared close together on the # 1 finger of Norris). The large dark grizzly was out again in the rendezvous area in the evening. At 7:45 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a colorful grizzly south of hitching post.

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

Tuesday - 12 July

We had a grizzly south of hitching post just across the creek at 5:40 a.m. The large dark grizzly was in the rendezvous tree line at 6:00 a.m. At 9:20 a.m. I heard on the radio about wolf pups in view from the hitching post. On the way to hitching post there was a small golden eagle jam at confluence east. The eagle had a duck but only made the middle of the road. It paused for a few minutes, then had enough energy to fly half way up the bank. In the next couple of minutes it finally bounced over the bank and out of sight. I did get to see one black pup crossing the diagonal clearing for an instance. At 5:50 p.m. we watched a grizzly in the bowl. At 6:30 p.m. we had good viewing for about 10 minutes of all five puppies (3 black and 2 gray) north of hitching post accompanied by three adults. At 9:10 p.m. I found a large grizzly in round prairie.

Wednesday - 13 July

I decided to head south this morning. I heard from Rick and Kara from Michigan that a grizzly they thought was scarface was in the Antelope Creek bottoms last evening. It was dark when I went by Antelope Creek, but when I broke over Dunraven Pass I could see that the Hayden was fogged in, so back to Antelope Creek. Old scarface was in the bottoms just grazing away. I watched him for over an hour prior to heading for Hayden. Fog was still lifting at 7:00 a.m. but I found the grizzly sow with two yearlings in Elk Antler Creek. I decided to go through the Teton's on my way home. I talked to Diana from Jackson who has been viewing two grizzly sows with cubs of the year (COY'S) in the Teton's. She had #610 the grizzly sow with two COY'S crossing the road around 3:00 p.m. near Jackson Junction near the Oxbow. At 6:30 p.m. the grizzly with both COY'S following her crossing a clearing viewed from the pullout just south of Jackson Lake Lodge. She walked slowly across as the cubs wrestled. Then she noticed an elk herd of over 75 cows and calves. So off she went on a run to investigate and out of sight.

Thursday - 14 July

I spent a restless night on forest land with a bunch of drunken campers still up at 2:00 a.m. when I left and found a quieter sleeping place. No sightings this morning of the grizzly with cubs. But at 7:15 a.m. I found a large one eared grizzly down the Two Ocean Road. Made a short day and headed home this morning.

Yellowstone Wolves ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

Other News

Birds: the two osprey chicks are gone (didn't survive). The sandhill cranes at Floating Island Lake had two colts (one hatched on the 9th and one on the 10th) - they are off the nest already feeding with the adults on the shoreline now. The two really big red tailed hawk chicks near Yellowstone Picnic area are still in the nest. Grizzly mauling - apparently the responsible grizzly was the sow with two COY'S that I still have not seen in Hayden Valley yet. I ran into Bob who had heard that the COY count is way down this year. People seen: Frank and Diane B from Michigan, Wayne and Maryann with family from Illinois, Dorothy a wolf watcher from California, Kathy L. and Linda without Marshall (also a wolf watcher, one with good luck - she was in the park a half day when the 5 pups and 3 adults were visible north of hitching post). Black bears still mating, a couple observed 100 yards from Slough Creek Campground (usually late in the year). Thinking about heading back up in the a.m. although the bear sightings have started to tail off now.

Yellowstone Sunset ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

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