Yellowstone National Park 2017 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
20 through 23 May 2017
~ May 2017 ~
Saturday - May 20th
I stayed in Silver Gate for this trip.
29 degrees this morning warming up to a windy 58 degrees in Lamar Valley. I had a moose in Round Prairie and a bull moose in Lower Barronette today. The moose sightings have been good from Cooke City all the way to the Soda Butte Valley this spring. My sightings are a lot less because I go thru those areas before first light in the morning, starting most mornings at Coyote Pullout in Lamar Valley. The other morning Jim B had 13 moose on the way in: 2 in Cooke City, 4 at Warm Springs, and 7 in Round Prairie; others had 9 moose in Round Prairie the other day. We saw our first elk calf of the year today north of Coyote Overlook. At 5:50 a.m. I started the day with a grizzly behind the west end of Jasper Bench but in front of Salad Bowl/Divide Ridge. Later it hunted its way up and over the Salad Bowl. At 6:55 a.m. I found a large dark grizzly in the tree line south and west of Footbridge Pullout. At 8:25 a.m. we had a grizzly on the Middle Ridge in Crystal Drainage viewed from the Slough Creek restroom. At 8:30 a.m. we watched a gray wolf bedded near the Sage Den at Slough Creek and all five puppies came out to play. That made a THREE DOG DAY. At 8:50 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in a clearing high above the Diagonal Forest in Slough Creek. At 9:10 a.m. I found a large light grizzly high north of Slough Creek viewed from Straightaway in Little America. At 10:20 a.m. we had five black and one gray Junction Butte wolves south of Picnic Pullout (the same group 996M, 1047M, 1048M, the limping black and another black and the gray 969F). At 2:15 p.m. the grizzly sow with one yearling was high south and west of Fisherman's Pullout viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 4:30 p.m. the silver/blond two year old grizzly was north of Coyote Overlook. At 6:00 p.m. Don from Wisconsin told us about a grizzly sow with two cubs of the year high south of the Blacktail Road exit. My first cubs of the year (coy's) of the year. At 6:45 p.m. we had a small grizzly on the Middle Ridge in Crystal from the Slough Creek restroom. At 7:00 p.m. we watched a colorful medium size grizzly north of Coyote Overlook. At 7:35 p.m. Don P called with a grizzly near the moose head north of Footbridge Pullout. When I arrived it was the sow and yearling and they were viewed from Picnic Area.
Sunday - May 21st
32 degrees this morning warming up to a windy 58 degrees. Moose seen today: one at Round Prairie in the dark this morning, a cow and last year’s calf at Soda Butte East, and a cow moose at Round Prairie this evening. At 5:40 a.m. I found a white collared large dark grizzly on Amethyst Bench. He moved off the bench to the north swimming the river and then crossing the road going north. At 6:30 a.m. I spotted a grizzly on Penny Lane viewed from Footbridge. At 8:10 a.m. the two year old silver/blond grizzly was east of the Horizontal Forest in Slough Creek. At 8:20 a.m. two adult gray wolves and one puppy were seen near the Sage Den. Actually the female was moving the pups to the old natal den that the Junction Butte wolves denned in last year. Not a big move, about 100 yards, but the viewing into the den is now restricted to people down the Slough Creek road or up on Dave's Hill (cannot see the den from the Slough Creek restroom now). We watched one of the pups being moved; the female stopped three times to get a new grip on the puppy. Earlier a small herd of bison grazed thru the area upsetting the female as they approached the den. The pups were caught unaware and found themselves between the bison and the den. One gray nipped at a bull bison - either a future alpha or not going to live that long. At 9:00 a.m. I found a large black bear on Prospect Peak viewed from Straightaway in Little America. At 10:00 a.m. the grizzly sow and two coys were in view south of the exit to the Blacktail Road. At 4:35 p.m. the grizzly sow with yearling were south and west of Fisherman's viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 4:45 p.m. we watched a small colorful grizzly north of Coyote. At 7:00 p.m. a lone gray wolf was seen above the den area in Slough Creek. At 7:20 p.m. a black bear was above the second sliver near Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 7:30 p.m. we watched a light grizzly in the big meadow behind the east end of Jasper Bench. At 8:00 p.m. I spotted a large grizzly on Norris viewed from Picnic Pullout. At 8:15 p.m. we had all four of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack north of Picnic chasing elk. At 8:30 p.m. I found a small dark grizzly on the east side of Chalcedony viewed from Picnic. At 9:00 p.m. Frank and Cole G waved me in at Lower Barronette with a large grizzly grazing across the river.
Monday - May 22nd
32 degrees in the morning warming to a windy 55 degrees. At 6:15 a.m. I started my day with a large black bear was in Round Prairie. At 6:55 a.m. I found a large dark grizzly in the bowl viewed from Midpoint Pullout. At 7:00 a.m. John G found a second smaller grizzly in the bowl not too far above the large dark grizzly. They were both moving south and west and the smaller one stayed ahead of the larger one. At 7:45 a.m. from the Slough Creek Restroom John G spotted the grizzly sow and yearling in a high clearing south and west above the Lamar Canyon. They were out again in the afternoon in a small clearing lower on the hill. At 1:30 p.m. we had a black bear along the road at Geode Creek. At 2:00 p.m. we watched a sow with two coys on Prospect Peak (later in the evening only a sow with one coy had been sighted). At 3:20 p.m. a gray wolf bedded near the Sage Den in Slough Creek. At 3:50 p.m. I found a black bear sow and one black cub of the year in a small clearing above the second sliver near Ski Slope. At 7:15 p.m. five black and one gray wolf (the usual bunch) were on Amethyst and later on Jasper Bench traveling to the west. At 7:40 p.m. the grizzly sow with one yearling were on Druid Peak (John G had seen them in the morning, so I knew where they might appear). At 8:35 p.m. I spotted a brown black bear in Round Prairie. At 8:40 p.m. Hank L found a black bear sow with two cubs of the year, both black, in a low clearing above Round Prairie.
Tuesday - May 23rd
28 degrees this morning warming into the low 60's. At 6:10 a.m. I spotted the grizzly sow and yearling on Druid Peak. At 7:20 a.m. five black and two gray wolves were spotted in Crystal Drainage eventually going south and west. 907F was with them this morning, so it is hoped that she has pups somewhere on the backside of Specimen Ridge and that the pack will support her. At 8:00 a.m. we watched the grizzly sow with one coy on Prospect Peak (we are hoping that the sow with two cubs is still around and that this is a different family). At 8:30 a.m. we had a brown black bear in a small clearing behind Mom's Ridge viewed from Boulder Pullout. At 8:35 a.m. someone found a fresh carcass with a grizzly on it. At 3:00 p.m. a gray wolf was seen moving near the Sage Den at Slough Creek. At 6:30 p.m. the grizzly sow with one yearling were across the Lamar River south and east of the Slough Creek Restroom.
Wolf Watchers seen May 16th thru May 23rd. From Montana: Dan and Laurie L, Bob and Elizabeth N, Melba C, Rick M, Doug M, Alan and Sue O, Lizzie C, and Ilona P. From Idaho: Craig C, and Ray L and Kathy. From Florida: Rick K. From California: Bob and Nell H. From Iowa: Jim and Joellyn B. From Oklahoma: Robert and Pam W. From Utah: Jerry and Julia C, and Pam and Denny D. From Colorado: Mark and Carol R, Rick and Lynn, and Ric and Kathy T. From Vermont: Don P. From Missouri: Don and Carol L, and From New York: Rick and Maureen B.
Bear Watchers seen May 16th May 23rd. From Utah: Dean and Jeri D. From the Midwest: Steve S, Bob B, and Mark S. From Wisconsin: Don, and Tyler B. From Montana: Ralph N, Mike and Kathy W and David B, Steve and Charlotte H. From Washington: John G, Randi M, Gene, Walt H, and Hank L. From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Wyoming: Richard and Rita R, and Terri from Thermopolis. From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. From Texas: Carol S and Carl L. From Missouri: Fred and Linda. From Illinois: Chicago Bob and Margaret, and Frank and Cole G. From Minnesota: Virgil and Marlene S. From Kentucky: Ron. From Idaho: Blake M. From South Carolina: Jean S and Margaret P. From Colorado: Don and Shirley, from Virginia: Daniel and Gabrial.
Others seen May 16th thru May 23rd. From Colorado: Jim and Bobbie F. From Utah: Josh S. From Montana: Gene B, MacNeil L, Nathan V, Peter M, Leo L, Ken T, Bob L, Evan S, Carl S, Cliff B, Steve B, and Emil. From Arizona: David and Phyllis. From Oregon: Dale and Elva P. And really last from Utah: Bob B.
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