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Yellowstone National Park 2016 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

02 through 06 November 2016

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

~ November 2016 ~

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

Wednesday - November 2nd

Well I got bored already so I headed up to Yellowstone for one more trip before the West Gate closed for the season. 33 degrees this morning warming to a really nice 49 degrees for November. At 7:40 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly on an large bison carcass in the Hellroaring Creek from Hellroaring Overlook. They have had one to five grizzlies in the area for the last four or five days. At 7:50 a.m. I watched a grizzly near the suspension bridge over the Yellowstone viewed from Hellroaring Overlook. At 10:00 a.m. I found a grizzly in the rendezvous area viewed from Picnic Pullout, this one was digging. From 11:05 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. a small colorful grizzly was digging on the Middle Ridge in Crystal Drainage viewed from Coyote Overlook. I tried several times to move closer but both Lamar Canyon West and Slough Creek restroom did not work. The grizzly was digging and in four hours moved only ten yards or so. I camped outside of Gardiner all my nights on this trip.

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

Thursday - November 3rd

38 degrees in Gardiner but 24 degrees at Hellroaring this morning warming up to a nice 58 degrees. At 7:40 a.m. we had a large grizzly on the carcass at Hellroaring Creek again. At 8:00 a.m. I spotted a small grizzly moving high in the Hellroaring Meadow. At 8:30 a.m. I found a large grizzly with an orange ear tag as it was leaving a carcass in Geode Creek. I hiked north to "the porch" for the first time and you get quite a view of Geode and the western Hellroaring Drainages. At 8:45 a.m. the large grizzly left the carcass at Hellroaring Creek, but soon another large grizzly moved in to claim the carcass. At 10:45 a.m. seven gray and five black wolves of the Prospect Peak wolf pack were in view in the Salad Bowl. I arrived from the west and saw them traveling up Salad Bowl/the Divide Ridge from the Slough Creek restroom, but the good viewing was later in the Salad Bowl as they traveled one by one up and over the ridgeline heading south. The Prospect Peak pack now has thirteen wolves, twelve were in sight this morning. At 11:30 a.m. Kathie L. called me to Coyote Overlook to see a small grizzly moving up the Salad Bowl following the same trail as the twelve wolves. At 12:00 noon Deby D. called with a grizzly in sight at Tower Junction. When I arrived it was moving back west and over a hill. Deby D later found a carcass (assumed a small bison calf) across the road at Tower Junction. She noticed that the grizzly apparently wanted to cross the road prior to my arrival. Towards evening the collared with red ear tag grizzly returned and managed to cross the road undetected and got to the carcass. The ribs were already bare from the ravens, magpies, golden eagle, bald eagle and at least two coyotes. At 5:00 p.m. we had a small blond grizzly digging on the east side of the rendezvous area viewed from Coyote Overlook, but better on the hill at the Confluence. At 5:15 p.m. I spotted a grizzly digging on the top of Penny Lane viewed from the Confluence. Eight grizzlies for me today, I'm guessing the extremely warm weather had a lot to do with it.

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

Friday - November 4th

34 degrees in Gardiner and 26 degrees at Tower Junction in the morning warming up to a nice 55 degrees. At 7:45 a.m. I was disappointed to find nothing on the Tower Junction carcass, but soon had a wolf howling in the area. Soon two black and one gray un-collared Prospect Peak pack wolves were found west of the junction, soon they crossed the road towards Yellowstone River Bridge never going to the carcass, then re-crossed to road back to the west. At 1:30 p.m. four gray and one black Prospect Peak pack wolves were low in Hellroaring viewed from Upper Hellroaring Pullout. At 3:15 p.m. I found a small blond grizzly on the ridge behind Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook. AT 3:45 p.m. we watched a large grizzly with the Yellowstone Stripe south of Picnic Area digging near the tree line.

Saturday - November 5th

36 degrees in Gardiner and 23 degrees at Hellroaring in the morning warming up to 58 degrees. At 7:55 a.m. Jeremy S was back in the park with a week off from college and found two black and three gray wolves in heavy sagebrush at Hellroaring Overlook. At 8:10 a.m. he spotted a grizzly coming to visit the wolves at the carcass. At 8:45 a.m. Deby D called about a large grizzly with a brown face south of Boulder Pond Pullout. He was moving east and I moved up the road to watch him cross a large clearing and move into the trees from Peregrine Pullout. At 10:45 a.m. I was proud of myself for finding a sow with one coy high on Specimen Ridge from Lamar Canyon West. They disappeared to the south so I moved to Boulder Lake Pullout and was rewarded by finding them on the skyline south in Little America. Seeing a sow with a coy in November was a first for me. At 1:45 p.m. they crossed the road south to north near Junction Butte then for the rest of the day were in view first on top of Junction Butte and later digging just below the tree line of Junction Butte. At 2:00 p.m. the small blond grizzly in the same clearing as yesterday on the ridge behind Ski Slope digging viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 5:30 p.m. the wolves from this morning started getting up from their day nap. Jeremy S had showed me where they had bedded and did see 10 wolves (six gray and four blacks). After I left in the morning Jeremy had found all ten, only five were in sight when I left this morning.

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

Sunday - November 6th

With the roads closing Monday morning, I made today a short one. At 7:50 a.m. we were glassing from Hellroaring again, where I found a grizzly and some wolves together this side of the Hellroaring Creek. No new carcass and the grizzly soon moved off crossing the creek and moving west. The count this morning was seven grays and four blacks of the Prospect Peak Pack. I then traveled back to the east and glassed Lamar Valley and Little America for my last time. Nothing in sight. When I returned, they told me the wolves had an eight minute chase and killed an elk right in the Hellroaring Creek very close to where the bison carcass was earlier.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Kathie L, Rick M, Doug M, Cliff B, Josh A, Laurie L, Deby D, and Lizzie C. From California: Joe M. From Ireland: Alwyn S. From Idaho: Natalie B. From Colorado: Jeremy S. From Virginia: Dusty. Bear Watchers: From Montana: Jack G, Doug M, Shari and Deb. From Idaho: Jon and Karen E, and Blake and Rachel M. Others: From Minnesota: Virgil and Marlene S. Missing from this report From Utah: Bob B.

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

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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