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Yellowstone National Park 2019 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

14 through 17 April 2019 - Yellowstone National Park

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

~ April 2019 ~

Grizzly Bear Battle Video

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

Sunday - April 14th

42 degrees in Gardiner but only 36 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to a high of 51 degrees. I watched three muskrats in Boulder Lake in Little America this morning. At 6:35 a.m. I found a large grizzly on a bison carcass in Little America viewed from Lamar Canyon West. The grizzly was nervous and would retreat about 25 yards every time a loud car would past by. The carcass was out of sight from most near pullouts. After a few retreats he moved south towards the trees of Crystal Creek. At 7:00 a.m. I watched the grizzly still on yesterday’s carcass south of Picnic Pullout in Lamar Valley. Not a lot of action as the grizzly lay on the carcass with a few movements to roll on his back or eat a little. The grizzly was bedded on the carcass all day long. At 7:35 a.m. three wolves of the Junction Butte wolf pack (I think two pups now yearlings and 1109F) visited the Little America carcass crossing the road from the north to get to the carcass that the grizzly had left earlier. I had a THREE DOG DAY today with wolves, coyotes and a fox. At 4:00 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a large cinnamon black bear just east of the Yellowstone Picnic Area.

Monday - April 15th

33 degrees in Gardiner and 32 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 44 degrees. I saw a bull moose at the Confluence this morning and two moose south of Trout Lake today. I viewed two separate foxes in Round Prairie and a fox southeast of Picnic Pullout today. At 6:25 a.m. the large grizzly was again on the carcass in Little America viewed today from the Slough Creek bathroom. He stayed out a little longer this morning before retreating to the trees in Crystal Creek. At 6:40 a.m. the grizzly was still on the carcass south of Picnic Pullout in Lamar Valley. However that did not last long as a larger dark grizzly was coming in from the west. The snow is really soft now and the second grizzly was post holing every third step of so. The carcass grizzly saw the larger grizzly coming and ran into the trees going to the east. The second grizzly took his time coming to the carcass, rubbed against the nearest tree and brushed against all the smaller trees and bushes in the area before coming to the carcass. The second grizzly was on the carcass all day long. At 8:00 a.m. I saw four black and the gray 907F bedded above the Sage Den at Slough Creek. This is a good sign the Junction Butte wolves may den again in Slough Creek. 969F was seen entering the Sage Den yesterday and believed to still be in the den. I had a THREE DOG DAY today. At 6:00 p.m. I walked up the hill at Geode Creek where the Wapiti Lake wolf pack had another carcass. Three days ago the pack had a carcass on the second ridge back and the viewing was long but good. That same day they had wounded another bull elk badly. The thinking is that the pack came back and either found the elk dead or killed it last night. I viewed nine of the eleven in the pack; one un-collared black and un-collared gray were not seen. The three collared wolves in the pack: 1014M the black alpha male, 1201F a black female, and 1203F a gray female were all visible. But the treat for me was the alpha female. This female is all white. It appeared to me that she was pregnant also.

Tuesday - April 16th

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

41 degrees in Gardiner but only 33 degrees in Slough Creek this morning warming up to 41 degrees. Lots of low clouds today and that meant poor visibility for most of the day with some rain and snow mixed in. I had two separate dusty grouse on the road this morning coming in. I missed both of them with the car. Today was a moose day. Bruce P was ahead and called saying he had moose all over. I had four south of the Soda Butte Cone. The fifth moose for today was a quarter mile west of the four. I arrived at Round Prairie and Bruce P held up five fingers. There were five moose, all or mostly bulls, just off the road in Round Prairie eating on willows next to the road. I viewed a fox at Round Prairie this morning and a fox at the confluence also in the morning. The resident osprey arrived in Lamar Canyon today so it looks like the nest will be active this year. Most of us had no wolves today and I only found one grizzly. At 1:15 p.m. in between low clouds I had a dark grizzly grazing and digging on the lower part of Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook. I watched for a while then glassed other places for an hour or so. Around 2:30 p.m. the grizzly had gone all the way down to Amethyst Bench. I moved to the Institute for better viewing. Soon the grizzly looked my way and turned and ran away to the south. I don't think he would be bothered since the Amethyst Bench is probably a half mile away. They are doing some construction at the Institute and maybe the noise frightened the grizzly. I watched him moving east until after 4:00 p.m. The grizzly was struggling with the snow and a lot of post holing as he walked east.

Wednesday - April 17th

36 degrees in Gardiner and 30 degrees in Lamar Valley warming up to a high of 52 degrees. I had a badger cross the road in front of me in the dark this morning at Mammoth. Five moose were south of the Soda Butte Cone this morning. Three moose were in Round Prairie this morning. I had six muskrats in the Boulder Lake Pond today. I found my first Uinta ground squirrel at Slough Creek this morning - a definite sign of spring. At 6:25 a.m. the large grizzly was back of the bison carcass in Little America viewed from the Slough Creek restroom. It did not stay too long and headed south to the trees in Crystal Creek. At 8:55 a.m. I found a grizzly digging in a clearing just east of the Horizontal Forest. Some digging then back scratching on various trees then more digging until moving off into the tree line and out of sight. At 11:15 a.m. I found a fresh set of tracks viewing from Coyote Overlook on the bottom of the clearing just east of Ski Slope. Following the tracks with my scope I found a grizzly walking up hill. The grizzly was moving up hill and summited the dome on top of Ski Slope. Surprisingly the grizzly was not post holing through the snow; it must be more solid than the snow in the valleys.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Dan and Laurie L, and Melba C. From California: Bob and Nell H. From Colorado: Jeremy S. From Arizona: Reve and Susan. From Wyoming: Linda H. From the Netherlands: Pauline M. From Washington: David and Stephanie O. Bear Watchers seen this trip: From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Virginia: David and Gabriel M. From Montana: Doug M, and Shari and Kate. From the Netherlands: John M. From Indiana: Jeff and Terry B. From Washington: John G. Others seen this report: From Montana: Bob L, Jim and Judy W, MacNeil L, Evan S, Cara M, Chris H, Leo L, Dan and Cindy H, and Cliff B. From Wyoming: Josh G. From Colorado: Jim and Bobbie F. From Iowa: Jim. From the Netherlands: Jort V. And from Washington: Nick and Diane L.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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