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Yellowstone National Park 2016 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

20 through 26 October 2016

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

~ October 2016 ~

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

Thursday - October 20th

I got up early and was on the road before 4:00 a.m. I was about 30 minutes before daylight and was surprised that the Canyon area had about six inches of snow. Being early I started at the Cascade Lake Trailhead and glassed for a few minutes, figuring with the snow I might see anything that was around. I had a fox near Grizzly Overlook and the great gray owl just off the road one half mile south of Canyon Junction. I couldn't find anything else so I headed on to Hayden Valley for an hour's worth of spotting nothing. On my way back I noticed the trailhead parking area was completely full. Pete B was there and told me that a wolf kill was just in the tree line north of the parking lot and had a grizzly with two large cubs and four wolves earlier, but that the sow had dragged the carcass back into the trees. I watched for over an hour and the sow made two appearances in the tree line. A gray wolf, probably a pup, came out and crossed the road to the west, then fifteen minutes later re-crossed the road back to the carcass area. Suddenly a cow elk ran across the clearing in front of the tree line with a large gray wolf in hot pursuit. The chase was brief and the cow got away and the wolf went back out of site. Just before I left a black wolf, probably a pup, came out of the trees and looked around. At 3:00 p.m. Jim and Twyla E had a blond grizzly digging near the western foothill viewed from Trashcan. The Lamar Canyon pack had been in view in the morning south of Footbridge Pullout so I staked out that area for the evening. Between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 926F, Little T, and the three Bear Tooth wolves including 949M were in view on Dead Puppy Hill. The grizzly that had been following the pack was also right in with them. When I found them the wolves come out and bedded briefly in a opening, and were joined by the grizzly who sat and watched them until they moved off. Nice to see five black wolves moving out on a hunt with a grizzly in hot pursuit. I camped near Silver Gate for the entire trip.

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

Friday - October 21st

36 degrees this morning warming up to a nice 57 degrees. I had a golden eagle today and a cow moose with two large yearlings (one a bull with small antlers) in the rendezvous area. In the morning we had reasons to believe the Lamar Canyon wolves were still around, so we spread out to look. I was at Footbridge when I noticed a black wolf bedded 150 yards from the parking lot just across the Soda Butte Creek near some willows. Soon all five got up and slowly moved to the south and west. At 9:00 a.m. the blond grizzly was south and west of the confluence near the tree line. It was out again at 6:15 p.m. tonight. At 11:05 a.m. looking for the Junction Butte wolves I found a large grizzly south of Junction Lake viewed from Elk Creek. I watched it move out of sight to the north, then it back tracked and found a carcass that only had a lot of ravens and a couple of eagles. From 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. four black and two gray Junction Butte wolves were bedded in Slough Creek viewed from Bob's Knob. At 6:15 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a dark grizzly in the rendezvous area viewed from Hitching Post.

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

Saturday - October 22nd

30 degrees with frost on the inside of the car windows this morning warming up to a nice 61 degrees. The cow moose with two large yearlings were back in the rendezvous area this morning and also a badger was out there digging. At 8:00 a.m. I spotted the blond grizzly digging south and west of Trash Can Pullout. It was out again from 4:00 p.m. thru 6:00 p.m. At 9:00 a.m. I found a large grizzly north of Boulder Pullout heading into the Trough. At 11:00 a.m. my only black bear for the trip was just off the road in the curve west of Floating Island Pond. At 2:00 p.m. we had a grizzly high in Bear Meadow viewed from the Institute. Actually Paul S. found the grizzly and came and got me as I glassed from the Picnic Area. The grizzly was moving west and was going thru No Bear Meadow when I arrived but then it settled in the east part of the Bowl where it was digging until 6:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. we had a dark grizzly in the rendezvous area. Others were there in the morning after I left and the wolves had appeared with this grizzly following them. Tonight, no wolves just the grizzly.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear taken Spring 2014 ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

Sunday - October 23rd

30 degrees this morning warming up to 61 degrees. The cow moose and two large yearling calves were back in the rendezvous area this morning. I also had a bull moose at Warm Creek just after dark in the evening. At 7:40 a.m. I spotted a dark grizzly south of Hubbard Hill moving east and into the tree line. At 7:45 a.m. five Junction Butte wolves bedded south of Hubbard Hill (a carcass with little left was near the river). At 7:50 a.m. the grizzly in the bowl viewed from the Institute was in the same place as last evening still digging. This grizzly was out again from 3:00 p.m. thru 4:15 p.m. At 9:40 a.m. one black and four gray Prospect Peak wolves were viewed north of Boulder and later from Rick's Pullout near Tower Junction. At 3:30 p.m. the blond grizzly was back digging on Amethyst Bench viewed from the Institute. At 4:30 p.m. Kim and Joyce C found a grizzly south of Hitching Post digging near the tree line.

Monday - October 24th

29 degrees this morning and frosty, warming up to 49 degrees with some light rain during the day. At 7:45 a.m. the blond grizzly on Amethyst Bench digging, later in the afternoon it was out again digging and grazing south of Picnic Area. At 9:30 a.m. four black and three gray wolves of the Prospect Peak pack made an appearance on Amethyst Bench, later bedding on the First Sliver near Ski Slope best viewed from Dorothy's Pullout. The wolves remained bedded all day until 3:15 p.m. then woke up and moved south out of sight. At 6:00 p.m. they came back from the south coming down Ski Slope and returning near where they had bedded all day. At 10:45 a.m. I spotted two black wolves moving fast to the west north of Coyote Overlook. I could not get anyone there soon enough to see them. Anne W and I decided they might reappear in Slough Creek so headed that way. We both spotted them in the bottoms across Slough Creek from the pullout below Bob's Knob. We had two blacks and three grays that included 969F and 907F. At 2:45 p.m. I found a large grizzly moving south in the Bowl from the Institute, but for only a minute. At 4:05 p.m. I found a black wolf bedded near the Diagonal Forest in Slough Creek where the wolves had disappeared in the morning. Soon the two black and three gray wolves from this morning joined it. The entire group moved west but circled back into the Slough Creek bottoms near dark. At 5:30 p.m. the large grizzly from 2:45 p.m. was digging on the top of A-Z Meadow. He had two large bull elk grazing less than twenty yards from the grizzly, but they seemed not concerned.

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

Tuesday - October 25th

It rained most of the night and was 40 degrees in the morning warming up to 57 degrees. At 8:10 a.m. one black and five gray Prospect Peak wolves were first seen south of Slough Creek restroom but later on the Divide Ridge (Salad Bowl) from Coyote Overlook moving south. This is the second group of Prospect Peak wolves, they have divided into two groups (the 4 black and 3 grays are mostly males and the group this morning were the alphas that have been usually seen on the Blacktail). The Junction Butte pack is now split into two groups. At 8:25 a.m. the large grizzly on A-Z Meadow from last evening was in the same place digging this morning for quite a while. At 8:45 a.m. another grizzly was spotted low on Salad Bowl and it moved south following the same trail as the earlier wolves. At 9:00 a.m. I spotted the blond grizzly digging in the tree line south and west of the confluence. It was in sight again at 4:00 p.m. and by 6:00 p.m. had moved to the rendezvous area to continue digging. At 5:50 p.m. I found a grizzly on Norris south of the Cache Creek trail viewed from Trash Can Pullout.

Wednesday - October 26th

42 degrees this morning with a fox on the road near Thunderer this morning. At 7:30 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly south and west of the confluence moving slowly west. At 8:00 a.m. I found a grizzly in a patch of sagebrush high on Norris Mountain viewed from the confluence. Joyce C later found a second grizzly in the same small patch of sagebrush. The first grizzly moved away to the south so I am confused on the relationship of the grizzlies-my guess two grizzlies just sharing the same sagebrush patch. At 9:05 a.m. I spotted a grizzly on the west end of the Bowl viewed from the Institute. My last Yellowstone grizzly sighting for 2016. I made it an early day and headed home without seeing the blond grizzly this morning.

Other News

The construction on the Mammoth Hotel has begun, I hear it will keep the hotel closed this winter and next.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Vermont: Don P. From Colorado: Anne W, Don G, Mark and Carol R, and Dale and Faye B. From Oregon: Kelly. From Montana: Rick M, Josh A, Barb M, Doug M, Melba C, Chuck and Wynette J, Leo L, Illona P, Deby D, Cliff B, and Lizzie C. From Kansas: Calvin and Lynette J. From Iowa: Jim and Joellyn B. From Texas: Charles. And from Virginia Dusty and Kathy. Bear Watchers: From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. From Idaho Kim and Joyce C. From Montana: Jack G and Shari and Kate. Others: From Montana: Pete B, Evan, Emil, and Alan and Sue O. From Oklahoma: Paul S. From Wyoming: Rick.

My last Yellowstone Trip Report for this year.

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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