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Yellowstone National Park 2016 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

29 September through 04 October 2016

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

~ September and October 2016 ~

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

~ September 2016 ~

Thursday - September 29th

I left from Idaho Falls early and made Hayden Valley around 7:30 a.m. It was 60 degrees in Idaho Falls, 37 degrees in Hayden Valley and 48 degrees a little later at Antelope Creek warming up to a nice 74 degrees. I did have a THREE DOG DAY today. Soon after arriving in Hayden I got a text about the Junction Butte wolves being seen at Antelope Creek. When I arrived all remaining eleven wolves (grey 907F, gray 969F, grey yearling 994M, a gray female yearling, a black female yearling, three black pups, and three gray pups) were all gathered in a low clearing. Eleven appears to be the total count now, the three wolves killed in a legal (at least 2 of the 3) hunt just north of the park were Junction Buttes. I ventured outside the park towards evening and camped north of the park for the night.

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

Friday - September 30th

41 degrees this morning warming up to a nice 73 degrees. The Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley has seven Trumpeter Swans just as you enter the valley from the north. At 9:20 a.m. I found a lone black wolf from Hellroaring Overlook and it stayed in sight long enough for a lot of people to see. At 10:00 a.m. I spotted a black bear north of the Petrified Tree road. From 11:30 a.m. thru about 1:15 p.m. I watched a grizzly sow with two coy's (cubs of the year) in Alum Creek in Hayden Valley. This is the sow that had three coy's that we had watched thru early June, but had lost the darker cub in the last couple of weeks. At 5:00 p.m. I spotted a black bear high across from Calcite Springs. At 5:50 p.m. we watched a large dark grizzly in the gap in the Antelope Creek bottoms viewed from T-58, the present grizzly sign pullout. At 6:15 p.m. we found three black and three gray wolves low in Antelope Creek. I assumed they were Junction Butte wolves, but Calvin and Lynette recognized them as Prospect Peak wolves. Speculation is that since the Junction Butte pack lost its alpha male 911M who was killed by the Prospect Peak pack, that the males of the Prospect Peak pack want to fill that position. Note: The Prospect Peak pack now has thirteen members, the six visiting the Junction Butte territory and seven more usually seen on the Blacktail viewed from the Nature Trail or Frog Rock. I camped over Silver Gate tonight.

~ October 2016 ~

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

Saturday - October 1st

37 degrees this morning warming up to 65 degrees with a lot of rain today. A had a fox on the road near Barronette Peak this morning but alas, could not find a coyote today. At 7:10 a.m. Jerry C found a large dark grizzly in Antelope Creek. At 7:45 a.m. all eleven of the Junction Butte wolf pack back in the bottoms of Antelope Creek, not far from where the Prospect Peak six were last evening. I headed to Hayden Valley and at 9:40 a.m. when the fog lifted found a large grizzly west in the north end of Hayden. From 10:15 a.m. thru 11:15 a.m. I watched the grizzly sow with two coy's in Trout Creek. I dined on pizza at the K Bar tonight and stayed at La Duke for the evening.

Sunday - October 2nd

37 degrees this morning warming to 48 degrees with a lot of rain and low visibility. At 10:00 a.m. MacNeil L of Yellowstone Insight texted about Raspberry and Snow being in sight near Lake Butte. When I arrived they were 60 yards off the road digging for breakfast. At 11:35 a.m. we had a dark grizzly in Alum Creek back near the timbered island. I stayed outside the park this evening near Silver Gate. It rained all night.

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

Monday - October 3rd

39 degrees in the morning warming up to 46 degrees. A great gray owl has been creating jams about one mile south of Canyon Junction and was out again today. A blue heron and the seven trumpeter swans again in the Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley. At 8:15 a.m. I located two gray and three black Prospect Peak wolves low in Antelope Creek (apparently one revisited the main group back on the Blacktail).

Tuesday - October 4th

43 degrees this morning as I turned around at Tower Store as they closed Dunraven Pass during the night (note: the road from Mammoth to Norris is also closed due to road construction). At 8:30 a.m. all eleven Junction Butte wolves were south in Little America south of Straight-away Pullout. Great viewing as they kept disappearing then reappearing for most of the morning. At 1:20 p.m. Dunraven Pass opened I headed for home.

People Seen

Bear Watchers: From Colorado: Ed A. From Idaho: John and Karen E. From Montana: Ralph N. From Utah: Larry M. Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Amy T, Melba C, Kathie L, Laurie L and Alan and Sue O. From Colorado: Anne W, and Ric and Kathy T. From Iowa: Jim and Joellen B. From New York: Rick and Maureen B. From Indiana: Jeff and Terri. From Kansas: Calvin and Lynette J. From California: Bob and Nell H, Sylvia and Jolene. From Utah: Jerry C and Julia. From the United Kingdom: Abby S. From Idaho: Warren and Natalie B, Ray L and Kathy, and Kim and Joyce C. From Pennsylvania: Dusty and Kathy. From Minnesota: Scott W and Beth. From the Netherlands: Pauline M. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. and from Tennessee: Stacy and Diane. Others: From Montana: Ken T, Carl S and Emil. From Louisiana: Bruce P. And from Washington: Ed M. And missed by a day or two from Utah: Bob B.

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

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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