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Yellowstone National Park 2017 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wildlife Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

17 through 21 October 2017 - Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear taken Spring 2012 ~ © Copyright Frank Smith All Rights Reserved

~ October 2017 ~

Yellowstone Wolf ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday - October 17th

I left Idaho Falls around 3:30 a.m. and arrived at Swan Lake Flats before 6:45 a.m. still in the dark. I had a low of 22 degrees near Norris and it warmed up to a really nice 65 degrees. At 8:45 a.m. Calvin J found two large and one small gray wolf, assuming the Prospect Peak Pack, near Little Buffalo Creek viewed from Upper Hellroaring. At 9:20 a.m. Larry H found a grizzly walking thru the same clearing that the wolves disappeared from. At 10:30 a.m. Calvin J found a limping black wolf probably of the Eight Mile Pack looking west from the Nature Walk Pullout at Blacktail. At 1:00 p.m. I had a brief sighting for two grizzlies on Specimen Ridge viewed from the Slough Creek Restroom. Soon after that Grant from a local tour guide service called saying he had two grizzlies in view from the hill above Calcite Springs near Tower. I headed over there and climbed the hill and got to see a grizzly and a yearling cub about three miles south of Calcite. I believe it was the grizzly and yearling that were a regular sighting near Junction Butte thru Crystal Drainage thru May. At 1:35 a.m. the wolf people joined us on the hill above Calcite and found seven of the eight Junction Butte wolves above four miles south of Calcite (they were moving around only a little, and I'm sure all eight were present). At 4:35 p.m. I found a small dark grizzly on Amethyst Bench moving thru trees to the east. I camped outside of Gardiner tonight.

Wednesday - October 18th

41 degrees warming up to a windy 63 degrees today. At 7:40 a.m. I found a dark grizzly moving slowly to the west in the yellow grass clearings below Upper Hellroaring Overlook. At 8:40 a.m. all eight Junction Butte wolves were in view from Dorothy's Pullout spread out this morning from Amethyst Bench to south of Fisherman's Pullout. At 1:30 p.m. MacNeil L. called having three grizzlies south of the Soda Butte Cone. I arrived as they just disappeared into the trees, but Pauline M. found them again so I got to watch the grizzly sow with two cubs of the year for about ten minutes. At 2:40 p.m. Jim E. told me they had a grizzly in the bowl viewed from YES Pullout. I backtracked down to YES Pullout and watched a large dark grizzly digging near the top of the bowl. This grizzly was in view the rest of the evening. At 5:45 a.m. Dale found a grizzly digging in No Bear Meadow viewed from Dorothy's Pullout. I camped outside of Silver Gate this evening..

Thursday - October 19th

30 degrees with frost on the inside of the car this morning but it warmed up to a nice 68 degrees today. At 7:35 a.m. we had two separate grizzlies in the old Druid Rendezvous area; one moving east and one moving west. At 8:20 a.m. Pauline M. found the Junction Butte wolves bedded in front of the western foothill from the Institute. All eight were present this morning and great viewing from Trash Can Hill. I camped outside of Gardiner tonight..

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

Friday - October 20th

It was 47 degrees this morning warming up to only 55 degrees with afternoon storms. I decided to look outside of the park to the north this morning. I had four grizzlies in their favorite meadow and one more just to the north. Going down the road I met Sarah W. and her family. They had a small blond grizzly less than 100 yards off the road digging on the south side of the road. Soon we found a grizzly with a nice sized yearling cub and a grizzly with two cubs of the year digging and in view from the same place, one set to the east and one set to the west. I did have a moose cow and calf outside of the park this morning. At 9:30 a.m. I pulled into Upper Hellroaring and heard a lone wolf howling. It took me a couple of minutes to locate a nice sized modeled gray wolf in the large meadow this side of the suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River. I assume it heard howling to the west, since just after I found it the wolf ran quickly to the west and out of sight in the river corridor. At 11:40 a.m. Joyce C. had a grizzly digging in a clearing near the skyline south of the Institute. This grizzly was out quite a while digging and not moving very far from where Joyce found it. At 3:40 p.m. I came across a bear jam just west of Boulder Pullout. The grizzly sow and yearling were about to cross the road from north to south. I'm sure this is the sow and yearling that we watched so often in April and May on Junction Butte and the area to the east of there. They look in really good shape, the cub was more brown in the spring, but now has a nice blond/silver Yellowstone stripe around its shoulders. I camped near Silver Gate tonight..

Saturday - October 21st

28 degrees this morning with about one inch of snow but warming up only to the low 30's. I had two separate foxes this morning on the drive into the park, but never found a coyote today. At 8:00 a.m. Calvin J. found six of eight of the Junction Butte wolves in Little America on the south side of the road. I only viewed 1047M and I moved back to the east to glass. At 8:50 a.m. from Footbridge Pullout I found the two un-collared Lamar Canyon wolves moving east. With all the wolf watchers in Little America I was the only one to see them today. I made it a short day and after the Mammoth to Norris opened in late morning I headed home for the year.

People Seen

From Montana: Rick M, Doug M (wolf watcher), Doug and JoAnn M (bear watchers), Lizzie C, Kathie L, Laurie L, Bonnie, Bob L, MacNeil L, Don and Paula V, Becky and Chloe, Emil M, Sarah W and her family, Tonya M, and Cliff B. From Kansas: Calvin and Lynette J. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. From the Netherlands: Pauline M. From New York: Wendy B. From Iowa: Jim and Joellyn B. From Canada John and Mary T. From Washington: Froane and Judy S. From Colorado: Dale and Faye. From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. From Idaho: Kim and Joyce C. From Connecticut: Geoff and Julia F with family. From the UK: Alan and Kirsty P. And from Utah: Larry M.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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