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Yellowstone National Park 2016 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

28 April through 01 May 2016

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

~ April 2016 ~

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

Thursday - April 28th

37 degrees in Gardiner and 31 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to a cold and windy 47 degrees.  At 7:20 a.m. we found the seven black and four gray wolves of the Mollies Pack on an almost finished new carcass south of Hubbard Hill.  They soon abandoned the carcass but bedded for most of the day in the tree line and in good view.  At 7:25 a.m. I spotted a collared grizzly in the river corridor viewed from Hubbard Hill.  It never went to the carcass and only coyotes visited the carcass during the day.  At 8:45 a.m. a gray Junction Butte wolf was near the Slough Creek den site.  At 10:30 a.m. we had a nice grizzly south of the Soda Butte Cone digging in the aspen grove.  At 12:15 p.m. we noticed a second grizzly on Amethyst Bench no further then 150 yards from the collared grizzly.  They both were busy digging, and appeared not to notice each other since a small herd of bull bison were in between them.  At 1:50 p.m. I found a black bear near the eastern basalt cliff viewed from Boulder Pullout.  At 4:10 p.m. I found a grizzly digging on Calfee, a clearing about five miles south of the Confluence.  Just before 5:30 p.m. Froane and Judy from Washington informed me that a grizzly sow with three Cubs of the Year (COY's) had been seen above the Slough Creek den site for the last hour, but had gone up and over the rock formation.  I headed to Slough Creek with John G and Randi M spreading out to glass above the rock formation.  Jack G. joined us and we soon had a grizzly.  We watched it in between two trees at two miles and were rewarded with a view of the three COY's.  Two were in plain site, the third was tucked under the sow.

Friday - April 29th

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

37 degrees this morning in Gardiner but 27 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to 55 degrees.  The morning was nice and sunny and felt warm, but it clouded up and the wind came and a cold 55 degrees in the afternoon.  It started raining on the way in tonight.   At 6:10 a.m. we found the Mollies, eight black and four gray wolves on a new carcass south of the Institute.  They soon moved west and eventually out of sight behind the Lamar Canyon.  They were not seen again today.  At 7:00 a.m. I found a grizzly grazing (unusual as most have been digging) in a small clearing south and east of Footbridge Pullout.  At 7:15 a.m. John G. found a grizzly in K-2 Meadow digging in the stripes of snow and bare ground.  At 8:50 a.m. the collared grizzly was again on Amethyst Bench digging.  At 9:15 a.m. John G. and Randi M. found a cinnamon black bear sow and a cinnamon yearling high north of Long Pullout.  At 10:15 a.m. Jerry C called on the radio with a grizzly on the Divide Ridge in Crystal Drainage.  We were at Long Pullout and moved our scopes to the south and east and had 15 seconds of viewing before it went over the ridge towards Lamar Valley.  John G, Randi M,  and I hiked to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers today.  I struggled on the uphill return, but a nice hour and forty five minute hike.  At 2:50 p.m. John G from Coyote Overlook spotted a grizzly sow with three COY's on the Middle Ridge in Crystal Drainage.  We soon moved a mile closer to Lamar Canyon West to view the family.  The family was out again and in view from the Slough Creek bathroom tonight around 6:00 p.m.  Wayne K and I got to show a few families with kids the grizzly family.  At the same time a gray wolf was bedded at the Slough Creek den side to the north.  I did have a THREE DOG DAY today with a fox near the Yellowstone Picnic area.

Saturday - April 30th

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

40 degrees in Gardiner and 36 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to 55 degrees.  I was able to see a prairie falcon today.  At 6:30 a.m. eight black and four gray wolves of the Mollies Wolf pack were south of the Institute.  They moved east and after 40 minutes or so out of sight.  They were not seen again today or the next day, so maybe they returned to Pelican Valley 25 miles south which is their normal territory.   At 6:45 a.m. the collared grizzly was again on Amethyst Bench.  At 9:20 a.m. the grizzly with the three COY's was again on the middle ridge of Crystal.  Good viewing on and off all day.  She nursed them several times and at times left them bedded and fed up to 30 yards from them.  At 10:00 a.m. we had a black Junction Butte wolf near the den site at Slough Creek.  Doug M (wolf watcher) did see the first pup at the den entrance briefly.  At 2:00 p.m. John G and Randi M found a small grizzly on the sky line north of Coyote Overlook.  It was milling around and rolled in something a couple of times with legs in the air.  At 3:55 p.m. the small colorful with a lot of blond grizzly was spotted on Amethyst Bench.  At 5:05 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a dark grizzly high north of Coyote Overlook moving west.

~ May 2016 ~

Sunday - May 1st

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

32 degrees with frost on the car windows in Gardiner and 28 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to a nice 60 degrees.  The weather was clear today with light clouds in the afternoon.   At 6:30 a.m. the small colorful grizzly was again on Amethyst Bench.  It was digging in the morning, but this afternoon it was out again and was simply grazing on grass.  At 6:45 a.m. John G found a grizzly briefly on the #1 finger of Norris, but it was on the south side of the hill and moved quickly out of sight.  At 7:30 a.m. I heard from Laurie L that there was a grizzly in the Slough Creek bottoms.  When I arrived it was moving north past the Diagonal Forest but reportedly had a red ear tag.  All I got to see of it was the rear end.  At 8:30 a.m. for about an hour we had good wolf action in the rolling hills west of the Slough Creek road and then in Slough Creek bottoms.  My count was four grays and three blacks chasing elk then harassing the bison with calves and finally just playing in the creek corridor and the water.  At 4:40 p.m. I spotted a large dark grizzly on the clearing behind Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook.  Probably the biggest grizzly I have seen this year, he was moving up higher and higher into the snow line.  Not sure what he was doing or where he was going.   At 5:40 p.m. I found a smaller grizzly low and in the west part of the Middle Ridge.  I was sure this was the sow with three COY's but after watching 55 minutes, it went out of sight without any companions.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers:  From Montana:  Rick M, Doug M, Melba C, Ilona P, and Dan and Laurie L,.  From Colorado:  Anne W and Don G.  From Utah:  Jerry C.  From California:  Bob and Nell J, and Joe.  From Idaho:  Natalie and Warren B.  Bear Watchers:  From Montana:  Ralph N, Jack G, and Doug M.  From Washington:  John G, Randi M, and Froane and Judy. From Illinois:  Wayne K and Chicago Bob and Margaret.  From Indiana:  Jeff and Terri.  From Ohio:  Jim and Twyla E.  From Colorado:  Ed A.  From California:  Les W and Cole W.  Others:  From Montana:  Nathan V, Bob L, Pete B, Cliff B, Michael L, MacNeil L, and Jim and Judy W who actually watched a far away grizzly.  From Florida:  Rick.  From Louisiana:  Bruce.  From Colorado:  Ric and Kathy T.  From Arizona:  David and Phyllis.  From Oregon:  Dale and Elva P. 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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