Yellowstone National Park 2017 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
14 through 19 June 2017
~ June 2017 ~
Wednesday - June 14th
I got bored at home and returned for a few days to Yellowstone. I stayed near Silver Gate the first night then the remainder of the trip at Pebble Creek Campground.
The lone swan was still around, today it was across the Soda Butte Creek from Footbridge Pullout. A nice day warming up to 62 degrees. At 1:20 p.m. I spotted a black bear at the double pullouts south of Canyon Junction. At 2:00 p.m. I found a grizzly digging on the backside of Specimen Ridge from Antelope Creek. This grizzly was left of Gun Sight and was in view for almost an hour. At 3:15 p.m. we had a black bear sow with one blond yearling cub in Crystal Drainage viewed from the Slough Creek Restroom. At 3:30 p.m. one gray wolf pup was spotted between the two dead trees in the Slough Den area called the two goal posts, a Prospect Peak wolf. At 4:10 p.m. we watched a grizzly sow with two cub of the year (coys) on Penny Lane. Good viewing from the Confluence as well as Hitching Post and Footbridge Pullouts. At 5:35 p.m. an adult gray wolf near the Natal Den in Slough Creek-Prospect Peak pack. At 8:25 p.m. my last bear sighting for the day was a large grizzly grazing/digging in the Old Druid Rendezvous area viewed from Footbridge Pullout.
Thursday - June 15th
49 degrees this morning warming up to 62 degrees. One moose was near Pebble Creek Campground tonight and the trumpeter swan (H-52) was back in the tall grass across the Soda Butte Creek from Footbridge Pullout. At 7:00 a.m. I spotted a nice sized grizzly on A-Z Meadow viewed from Coyote Overlook. It moved over the top and was in view in the Bowl from the Institute at 8:00 a.m. and again out at 4:00 p.m. still in the Bowl. At 7:00 a.m. five black and two gray wolves of the Junction Butte pack were in view from Coyote Overlook on Jasper Bench. At 8:00 a.m. Terri W found a courting pair of grizzlies on K-2 Meadow viewed from the Confluence. Terri had been watching them from Footbridge but found that the Confluence was better viewing. They spent a lot of time in the deadfall with poor visibility, but for the last ten minutes or so moved into a nice clearing for some good viewing. At 9:30 a.m. I found a black bear in the tree line east of Amethyst Bench. At 11:30 a.m. we had a black bear in the western end of Round Prairie. Between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. we watched a grizzly digging on Penny Lane viewed best from the Hitching Post Pullout. At 5:15 p.m. an adult gray wolf of the Prospect Peak Pack was near the Sage Den in Slough Creek.
Friday - June 16th
54 degrees this morning with light rain most of the day. It got a little cooler a few times as the rain increased, but the high for the day was 54 degrees. At 5:15 a.m. I spotted a grizzly in the second clearing east of Penny Lane. A brief sighting and poor visibility. At 6:55 a.m. five black and two gray Junction Butte wolves were on the west end of Jasper Bench. No carcass or anything, they just seem to like that area in the morning. From 7:35 a.m. thru 9:00 a.m. the grizzly with two coys was on the number one finger of Norris viewed from Soda Butte East Pullout. Terri W was still back at Dorothy's so I drove back to tell her about the grizzly family in #1 finger, but she had a grizzly in view from Dorothy's in a clearing south of Bear Meadow. At 3:30 p.m. we had a large cinnamon black bear on the # 3 finger of Norris viewed from the Soda Butte Valley. At 5:00 p.m. I watcjed a large cinnamon black bear in a clearing north and west of the Slough Creek den. There are lots and lots of yellow flowers in the high clearings now, and this cinnamon bear kept disappearing as I watched it.
Saturday - June 17th
I had a THREE DOG DAY today. There was a badger in view from Boulder Pullout today. 46 degrees this morning warming up to a nice 66 degrees. At 5:20 a.m. the wolves were howling on the west end of Jasper Bench. Soon they were seen on the west end of Jasper Bench moving to the east. Again five black and two gray wolves, the usual group of two grays (969F and 970F) and five blacks 996M, 1047M, 1048M, the limping black yearling and one more black male. At 5:50 a.m. Reve and Susan called having a grizzly on the Divide Ridge of Crystal viewed from Bob's Knob Pullout. I arrived and was pleasantly surprised to have two grizzlies grazing near each other. Two large grizzlies, one grazing east and one grazing west. The slightly larger one charged the slightly smaller one once, then both went back to grazing. The large one charged again, but the smaller did not even move. When I left them, both were slowly grazing away from each other. At 7:00 a.m. we had a colorful grizzly digging in the Bowl from the Institute. At 7:20 a.m. I found a nice sized grizzly digging on Penny Lane viewed from the Confluence. At 10:15 a.m. I spotted a black bear sow with two brown cubs of the year on the east end of Dead Puppy Hill. At 3:15 p.m. we had a black bear sow with two cubs of the year, one black and one brown (I only saw the brown coy), in the Lamar Canyon just east of the Osprey Nest Pullout. At 4:15 p.m. two gray pups of the Prospect Peak pack were in view near the Sage Den in Slough Creek. At 7:45 p.m. we had the grizzly sow with two coys on the # 3 finger of Norris. At 8:55 p.m. I found a small silver grizzly hunting elk calves north of Picnic Pullout. I must admit that I only found the small grizzly because of a group of nervous elk were on alert. The grass is getting quite tall this time of year, and this was a small grizzly.
Sunday - June 18th
52 degrees today warming up to 67 degrees. A yearling calf moose ran by Doug M (bear watcher) and I north of Dorothy's this morning. It was trying to cross the road to the south, but the cars would not let it cross. I stopped and watched the now large chick in the Red-tail hawk nest (old owl's nest) at Lamar Canyon east this afternoon. Another rare sight for Lamar Valley as I watched seven pelicans fly down the Lamar River from Dorothy's this afternoon. Pelicans are quite common on the Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley and south, but unusual in the Lamar Drainage. At 5:15 a.m. I spotted a large dark grizzly digging on Amethyst Bench. It moved up the Amethyst Drainage soon after, but was seen later slowly going up the Bowl from the Institute. At 5:30 a.m. I found a small blond grizzly digging in the middle of Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 6:00 a.m. the grizzly with two coy's were on the # 3 finger of Norris (they were out again in late afternoon). At 6:20 a.m. we had a grizzly sow with one coy under the snow cornice high south and west of Footbridge Pullout. I had seen a grizzly with two coys briefly in that area about a week and half ago so was hoping this was a different family, rather than the sow already losing a cub. At 7:00 a.m. the dark grizzly from this morning was out in the Bowl again. At 8:15 a.m. the two and half year old blond grizzly was above the Horizontal Forest in Slough Creek. We had a small grizzly in the rocks and tall grass, I was lucky that several wolf watchers told me were to look. At 9:15 a.m. three of the five gray puppies of the Prospect Peak wolf pack were near the Sage Den in Slough Creek. I ran into Joe and Jeanne L from Livingston today and they had a grizzly with a yearling on Druid Peak on the west end this morning. I staked out Druid this evening hoping to find them. At 7:40 p.m. I found them high almost sky line on Druid behind a few aspens. They did move around into a clearing for a nice view only once.
Monday - June 19th
37 degrees this morning in Lamar Valley. At 5:30 a.m. five black and one gray wolf were again on the west end of Jasper Bench (I only saw one gray, but both gray wolves were there this morning). At 6:00 a.m. I found a small brown grizzly in the Bowl viewed from the Institute. At 6:15 a.m. we had the grizzly sow with two coys on the # 2 finger of Norris. At 6:25 a.m. the grizzly sow with one coy were high north and west of Footbridge Pullout under the snow cornice again. At 8:15 a.m. on my way home, three black and one gray wolf of the Wapiti Lake wolf pack were bedded in Alum Creek in Hayden Valley. The gray did soon cross the road going to the east.
A Brief Story
One of the reasons I left the park again. The black bear sow with two coy's has been showing up in the Lamar Canyon usually just west of the Osprey Pullout. I was going back thru the canyon with only one of two cars in front of me when I hit the bear jam. The traffic coming west from the Lamar Valley was backed up 15-20 cars. I looked at the lead car coming thru the jam and only one dog was in the front seat. Yes, the people had abandoned the car for a look and picture of the bears. I don't know how long it took the cars behind the idiot to get pass the bear jam.
Wolf Watchers: From Utah: Marlene F. From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Becky and Chloe, Lizzie C, Barb M, and Bob and Elizabeth N. From Oregon: Bruce and Kelly H, and Kurt and Beth. From Florida: Andy and Missy O. From Tennessee: Terry and Betty. From California: Dorothy D, and Steve of LA. From Missouri: Don and Carol L. Bear Watchers seen this trip: From Illinois: Bill W. From New Mexico: Bob W. From Wyoming: Terri W. From Utah: Gayle and Brett. From Montana: Doug M, and Joe and Jeanne L. From Georgia: Sandi R. Others seen this trip: From Montana: Nathan V, Jim H, MacNeil L, Leo L, Carl S, Emil M, and Evan S. From California: Bill W. From Vermont: John K. From the Netherlands: Yort V. From Pennsylvania; Ray and Darlene R. From Arizona: David and Phyllis.
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