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Yellowstone National Park 2016 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

20 through 23 April 2016

Yellowstone Buffalo taken Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright John William All Rights Reserved

~ April 2016 ~

Yellowstone Antelope taken Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright John William All Rights Reserved

Wednesday - April 20th

39 degrees in Gardiner but 28 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to a nice 70 degrees.  I had a dusky grouse today near Hellroaring.  At 7:45 a.m. all four Lamar Canyon wolves (992M Twin the alpha male, 926F the alpha female, 993M dark black male, and little T the black female yearling) were at Footbridge Pullout this morning.  They apparently had a carcass south of Hitching Post in the creek corridor.  We had howling both north and south of the road as 993M was already south when I arrived.  The other three soon crossed to join him.  They bedded for quite a while then moved back towards the carcass and out of sight.  At 3:00 p.m. Shari told us about a grizzly south of Picnic Area.  Sure enough there was a small grizzly feeding in the tree line south of the Picnic area.

Thursday - April 21st

Buffalo and Magpie in Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

39 degrees in Gardiner in the morning, 29 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to 71 degrees.  At 6:10 a.m. I spotted a black yearling of the Junction Butte pack. It crossed the road in front of me from north to south.  At 6:35 a.m. John G. found a grizzly south of Fisherman's Pullout viewed from Coyote Overlook.   It soon moved over the hill to the south and out of sight.  I hiked down to Slough Creek Campground with John G. today.  At 8:.30 a.m. six black and one gray of the Mollie's wolf pack were spotted right near the den of the Junction Butte wolf pack.  911M the alpha male, 890M the beta male and one other gray adult of the Junction Butte pack briefly approached near the Mollie's, then seeing seven wolves ran very quickly to the west with the Mollie's fast behind them.  The Mollie's soon returned to the den area and moved very close to the den several times, but did not approach the actual den.  The wolf people told me that most of the Mollie's here this morning (only 7 of 16 present) were young wolves, therefore their interest was not to raid the den.  Before the confrontation 907F must have moved all her pups into the original den inhabited by 696F.  907F had a bad limp today, but must of gotten it before the confrontation.  The Mollie's did finally move off to the north and west and were not seen any more today and on Friday.  So both females 907F and 969F were back in the same den, the original den.  The rest of the pack minus two grays and one black pup rallied west of the den area not returning to the den.  At 5:35 p.m. we watched a grizzly digging low in Bear Meadow high south and slightly west of the Institute.

Yellowstone Elk taken Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

Friday - April 22nd

I had a THREE DOG DAY today.  43 degrees in Gardiner this morning, but 34 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to a nice 72 degrees.  I hiked to the old Crystal Pen sight with John G. today.  John picked two ticks off me on the trip.  The ticks are bad this year. We had an interesting sighting this morning in the Lamar Canyon.  I had an animal walking along the side of the road and thought it was a porcupine, but when I passed it, it was a beaver.  Why a beaver would be walking on the side of the road was unusual.  At 8:05 a.m. John G. found a small grizzly on the skyline of Ski Slope viewed from the Institute.  It soon moved south thru the snow and out of sight.  We went to Coyote Overlook and found it digging behind Ski Slope.  At 8:40 a.m. I found a grizzly briefly in sight on the skyline north of Coyote Overlook.  At 9:00 a.m. we had three of the four Lamar Canyon wolves on an antelope carcass north of Hubbard Hill.  I have no idea what happened as I have only heard of one other antelope kill, and that was when there was still snow banks around and the wolves ran it into a snow bank slowing it down.  At 6:55 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a large black bear on Garnet Hill viewed from Upper Hellroaring.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear taken Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

Saturday - April 23rd

47 degrees in Gardiner but 37 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to a cold 55 degrees and afternoon rain.   At 6:50 a.m. both John G. and myself spotted a grizzly in the bowl south of the Institute at the same time.  At 8:15 a.m. John G. found a large cinnamon black sow with a small black yearling cub very high up in Slough Creek viewed from the Slough Creek bathroom.  At 10:30 a.m. I found the small grizzly on the #3 finger of Norris viewed from the Soda Butte Valley.  Later it had moved to the #2 finger of Norris viewed from Footbridge Pullout.  At 12:50 p.m. John G. found a large grizzly north of Coyote Overlook.  A brief sighting as it moved behind the large hill and was not seen later.  At 4:50 p.m. we had the black bear sow with two brown yearling cubs down by the Yellowstone River Bridge.

Our nice weather is gone and the forecast is for rain and unsettled weather for the next week.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers:  From Montana:  Rick M, Doug M, Melba C, Josh A, and Lizzie C.  From Colorado:  Don G.  Bear Watchers:  From Colorado:  Ed A.  From Washington:  John G, and Randi, and Hank L.  From Montana:  Doug M, and Scott M.  Others:  From Montana:  Shari, Cliff B, Bob L, Pete B, and Dan and Cindy H.  From Idaho:  Ned and Theresa, and Kim and Joyce C.  From Louisiana:  Bruce.  From Washington:  Ed.  And from Utah:  Bob B.

Mount Haynes in Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler Bunsen Peak in Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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Buffalo Youngsters Playing - April 16th, 2016 - Lamar Valley

Buffalo in Lamar Valley taken Spring 2016 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

Can you see the four Antelope?

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