Yellowstone National Park 2014 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
15 thru 22 April 2014
~ April 2014 ~
Tuesday - 15 April
37 degrees in the morning warming up to 46 degrees. We had a bedded moose by the Petrified Tree Road today. At 7:30 a.m. we found 907F and an uncollared gray wolf from the Junction Butte pack from Hellroaring Overlook. At 8:15 a.m. I spotted a black bear in the woods just past the Yellowstone River Picnic area. At 8:35 a.m. we had a grizzly working the tree line in the snow south of the road near Specimen Ridge (good viewing as it moved slowly and was in snow most of the way). At 11:45 a.m. Ralph found a black bear low on Garnet Hill viewed from the Petrified Tree (ski) pullout. At 1:00 p.m. an unidentified gray wolf visited the carcass on Hellroaring Slope.
Wednesday - 16 April
27 degrees this morning warming up to 50 degrees. We had grizzly tracks at Slough Creek this morning, as we got less than an inch of snow. The grizzly visited the Slough Creek bathroom and the trash container before following the not opened road going to Slough Creek. We had a cow moose with her two large yearling calves at Geode Creek this morning. I also found a fox today but did not find a coyote. At 6:20 a.m. I found a grizzly south of the Blacktail Deer Creek bathroom. At 8:00 a.m. we had a large grizzly way north of Boulder Pullout. At 8:15 a.m. we watched a grizzly back on the carcass in the Slough Creek bottoms (near the mixed aspen/conifer forest). At 10:00 a.m. we had the 907F wolf on Hellroaring Slope. At 11:15 a.m. I found a black bear low on Garnet Hill viewed from the Petrified Tree pullout. At 2:15 p.m. we had a new grizzly comes to the carcass in Slough Creek bottoms from the north. At 3:30 p.m. we had 755M and 889F in Crystal Drainage. They were bedded for hours before, then moved south and out of sight. They then turned up right at Long Pullout and 889F passed my car at 15 feet. 755M is road wary and passed at 100 yards.
Thursday - 17 April
27 degrees this morning warming up to 50 degrees. The cow and two yearling calves moose moved down the hill today to Phantom Lake. Lots of photographers and a busy ranger keeping them apart. At 8:00 a.m. I found the unknown gray wolf about two miles north of Boulder Pullout. At 8:25 a.m. we noticed two wolves chasing the unknown gray, it was 907F and an uncollared gray wolf from the Junction Butte pack. All ended fine as they briefly accepted each other before moving off separately. But before they separated Calvin and Lynette noticed a grizzly following the wolves. A little interaction and the wolves left the grizzly. At 11:00 a.m. we had a black bear low on Garnet Hill. At 5:20 p.m. Calvin found a grizzly high in the snow at Hellroaring Slope, brief sighting.
Friday - 18 April
The west entrance to the park opened this morning at 8:00 a.m. The morning was rainy with little visibility. 38 degrees in the morning warming to 50 degrees. The ospreys are back on the nest at Lamar Canyon west. We saw them breeding and starting to bring in sticks and nesting material to rebuild the nest. A slow day for spotting in that I had one grizzly in Crystal Drainage for about three minutes when the rain let up a little.
Saturday - 19 April
31 degrees this morning warming to 58 degrees. We had four swans in Little America and three moose near Phantom Lake. The Mammoth Campground filled today, with lots of people in the park for the weekend. At 8:00 a.m. 869M and the unknown gray wolf spotted far to the north of Boulder Pullout. At 9:45 a.m. we watched a smaller colorful grizzly came down to visit the carcass in the Slough Creek bottoms. I had a three dog day with Carma and Jennings providing lunch for Ralph and I.
Sunday - 20 April
30 degrees this morning warming to 60 degrees. We had four swans in a pond in Little America. We also had two moose at the confluence of the Lamar River and the Soda Butte Creek. At 6:45 a.m. we spotted a lone gray wolf on mom's ridge viewed from Boulder and Aspen Pullouts. At 7:15 a.m. Ralph found two grizzlies playing near the carcass in the Slough Creek bottoms. We first thought they were a sow and a large cub, but when the larger one tired of playing and ran the smaller off we saw the size of the grizzlies, they were two nice sized adults. At 10:50 a.m. we spotted 869M wolf north of Boulder Pullout. About 1:00 p.m. I found a grizzly on a new carcass in the Slough Creek bottoms. Bob B. from Utah found wolves above the carcass and eventually ended up with four grays and 890M the black alpha male. We left them with the grizzly on the carcass and the wolves bedded waiting.
Monday - 21 April
28 degrees this morning warming to 63 degrees. Two swans were again spotted in the pond below Bob's Knob at Slough Creek and my first blue heron in the park near them. From 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. we had a grizzly on the new carcass in the Slough Creek bottoms. During that time we found four wolves in the area waiting for the grizzly to leave (907F and the three uncollared gray yearlings). At 7:00 a.m. I found a grizzly in the yellow grass meadow north and east of Bob's Knob. The first grizzly we have found that was not on or around a carcass, it was digging in the snow and bare ground. Just before I left Bob's Knob, Sian saw 907F rush to the carcass just after the grizzly left the carcass. She caught and killed a raven. One of the yearling males quickly took it from her and paraded around with the dead raven like a dog with a duck. At 3:15 p.m. we had a grizzly sow with a large two year old cub straight north of Slough Creek. They spent a lot of time wrestling and playing. At 7:00 p.m. we found a grizzly on a new bison carcass at Elk Creek. At 7:15 p.m. 755M and 889F approached the carcass but the grizzly controlled the carcass. At 7:55 p.m. I spotted a black bear just off the road at Lower Hellroaring.
Tuesday - 22 April
A little rain early with 41 degrees in the morning warming to 66 degrees, our warmest day yet. MacNeil L. again found a bear den. This one in K meadow. We could view the hole and tracks going both ways and then downhill out of sight. Never sure on this but we think a single grizzly that will not be back. At 6:15 a.m. we found a grizzly on the new bison carcass at Elk Creek. At 7:00 a.m. we spotted a grizzly leaving the newer carcass in Slough Creek bottoms. At 8:10 a.m. we had a grizzly south of the confluence in deep snow heading in to the tree line and deeper snow. At 8:45 a.m. Ralph N. found the grizzly sow with one two year old cub east of the yellow grass meadow, a really nice spot. At 4:40 p.m. we watched a grizzly on the new bison carcass at Elk Creek. At 4:45 p.m. a black bear approaches the carcass, only to be escorted off by the grizzly. At 4:55 p.m. a larger grizzly came to the carcass and the first grizzly ran off. After I left apparently the two grizzlies were negotiating near the carcass and the black bear quickly came in for a meal.
Lots of bison dying after the winter. The wolf plane flew on Monday and found seven bison carcasses. Lots of bison calves showing up now. More elk in the valley than the last couple of years. The pronghorn antelope have moved up into the park all the way to Crystal Drainage and Slough Creek. Lots of sand hill cranes, ducks, geese, bluebirds, ravens, bald and golden eagles, kestrels, and a few ospreys.
Wolf watchers: Rick M, Doug M, Peter M, Amy and Barb from Montana. Calvin and Lynette from Kansas. Sian and Phil from the UK. Larry and Linda from Wyoming. Richard B from Utah. Natalie and Warren from Idaho. Bear watchers: Ralph N, Jack G, Scott M, and Joe and Jenna from Montana. Carma and Jennings from Idaho, Larry M from Utah. Others: Nathan V, Linda T, Jim H, Diane T, Kevin and Tammy, Cliff B, Alan and Sue O, Jim and Bobbie F, Bob L, Bob B, MacNeil L, Kevin S, Ed A, Dan, Cindy and Kelly H, Mike M, Bob and Elizabeth N, and Dale and Elva P.
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