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Yellowstone National Park 2019 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

30 April through 03 May 2019 - Yellowstone National Park

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

~ April 2019 ~

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

Friday - April 26th

42 degrees in Gardiner and 36 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to 50 degrees. I viewed three moose south of the Soda Butte Cone, one moose south of Soda Butte East Pullout and four moose in Round Prairie this morning. I had a vulture circling above me at Lamar Canyon West Pullout this afternoon. At 8:00 a.m. we viewed the grizzly sow with one yearling low on Specimen Ridge today. They were back in sight at 4:45 p.m. a little higher up on Specimen Ridge. At 8:40 a.m. the grizzly sow with one two year old cub was spotted on the #2 Finger on Norris. They were digging again, just above the tree line. At 2:30 p.m. we found them again this time on #1 Finger on Norris. At 9:20 a.m. I spotted a small light grizzly digging near the tree line in Round Prairie. I forgot to include in my last report that a lady named Elizabeth from Colorado had made a great spot on the grizzly. She found it on a high cliff bedded while looking for mountain goats. We watched it for over an hour on Thursday. Jeff and Terry B called with a large cinnamon black bear on the road at 10:15 a.m. at Ice Box Canyon. The bear was in view for ten minutes before moving north up a hill and out of sight. At 4:15 p.m. 907F the gray alpha female of the Junction Butte wolf pack came out of her den and laid by the side of the den for over thirty minutes, probably needed a little time to herself.

Saturday - April 27th

37 degrees with ice on the windshield in Gardiner and 28 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to a nice 57 degrees. This afternoon the winds blew really hard well into the evening. I viewed my first northern harrier this afternoon. At 6:02 a.m. I saw two cars stopped in the road just east of Long Pullout in Little America. As I passed a black collared wolf with a mouthful was traveling east just off the road to the south. I think the wolf people thought it was 1109F. At 8:20 a.m. Frank H showed me a large grizzly on a carcass in the middle of Slough Creek viewed from near Bob's Knob. After a while it got up but moved away as some people walked down closer. There were only three wolves around the Slough Creek den today. 1047M, the alpha male, 907F the alpha female and the gray yearling. While watching the grizzly on the carcass these three wolves were observed near the den. 907F begged for food from the yearling when it returned to the den area. The gray yearling had approached the grizzly on the carcass just before I arrived and got a nice piece of meat from the carcass. After I left and the grizzly left the carcass all three wolves got a long turn at the carcass in the creek. At 9:15 a.m. Emil M found the grizzly sow with one two year old cub low on #1 Finger on Norris. Good viewing for a while then the pair disappeared into heavy trees. At 10:50 a.m. the grizzly and cub reappeared on the bottoms and ran and crossed the road traveling north. Then they found a good place to dig and spent the next two hours plus digging two to four hundred yards off the road. Dozens of cars stopped to watch them. At 11:00 a.m. the small light grizzly was near the tree line again in Round Prairie. This grizzly was also in view for several hours. At 12:45 p.m. we had a nice sized black bear behind Jasper Bench but in front of the Divide Ridge viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 2:15 p.m. we watched a large cinnamon black bear one drainage west of the Slough Creek Den area. At 4:45 p.m. John G found the grizzly sow with one yearling on Middle Ridge near the top viewed from the Slough Creek Bathroom. Lots of people got to watch the grizzly family to the south and on cue the alpha female and male briefly appeared at the Slough Creek Den. An hour or so before this a black bear moved above the den area and was first chased up a tree above the den then chased over the hill towards the Diagonal Forest, would have liked to watch that.

Sunday - April 28th

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

34 degrees with snow on the car at Gardiner but only 25 degrees in Lamar Valley with snow covered roads warming up to 34 degrees in the park. I saw a total of six moose in Round Prairie this morning, four on the west side of the meadow quite close to the road and two out in the middle of the meadow. At 1:30 p.m. 1047M the black alpha male traveled uphill to the den at Slough and bedded near the den. At 2:15 p.m. Amy T showed me the grizzly sow with one two year old cub north of the Soda Butte East Pullout. They were both digging in a wet area with a lot of green grass around them. At 2:45 p.m. Jort V told me about the small light grizzly in Round Prairie. This is the third day the small grizzly has been in the same spot in Round Prairie. At 5:25 p.m. we had a cinnamon black bear under the Yellowstone River Bridge near Tower Junction. At 5:35 p.m. we had a huge black bear just off the road on Tower Hill. I think this is the large black bear that controlled the carcass near Junction Butte several years ago not sharing with the wolves. At 5:55 p.m. the black bear sow with two yearlings was south in Geode Creek. This is the bear family that denned under the road at the big curve at Geode Creek. They were all in a large tree playing when I passed them tonight.

Monday - April 29th

20 degrees in Gardiner but only 15 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 34 degrees with afternoon snow showers. I had a fox today but no coyote so no three dog day today. I had five moose in Round Prairie this morning. At 6:55 a.m. John G showed me a small black bear south of the Institute in the tree line. At 7:55 a.m. Bruce P found a larger black bear south of Midpoint Pullout also in the tree line. At 8:30 a.m. I returned to a large crowd at Slough Creek. A large bison was down of natural causes and defended by another bull bison. There were birds on the bison and the bison was still living. Soon the defender bison left and the wolves got to the carcass and after a little while the bison died. I counted two gray and three black wolves on the carcass, but others had four blacks. At 12:25 a.m. Bruce P found the small light grizzly again for the fourth afternoon in a row in Round Prairie. At 2:15 a.m. Rick and Len H found a small light grizzly digging in the A-Z Meadow. At 2:20 p.m. we noticed a larger dark grizzly coming into the area. The chase was on with the small grizzly running back and forth with a twenty yard lead. Soon the small grizzly ran uphill in a large circle with the dark grizzly trailing but falling farther behind. At the top of the circle the small grizzly disappeared into a small group of trees never to be seen again. The larger grizzly continued in a large circle returning to the start place of the chase. It then spent fifteen minutes digging a large hole in the place it met the small grizzly. At 5:00 p.m. I was driving towards a snow storm passing Trashcan Pullout when I noticed a couple of small herds of bison running to the west. Then I saw the grizzly sow and one two year cub digging under the fleeing bison.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Lizzie C, and Amy T. From Missouri: Frank H. From Colorado: Karol B, and Jeremy S. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. From Washington: David and Stephanie O. From Arizona: Reve and Susan. From Oklahoma: Robert and Pam W. And from California: Bob and Nell H. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Washington: John G, and Froame and Judy S. From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Indiana: Jeff and Terry B. From Colorado: Rick and Len H, and Ed A. From Idaho: Brake M, and Carma and Jennings S. From Utah: Mark and Liz H, and Kevin and Rosie N. From Montana: David and Monty B, and Jack G. Others seen this report: From Montana: MacNeil L, Allen K, Linda C, Bob L, Ed S, Cliff B, Evan S, Emil M, Chris H, and Jim H. From Wyoming: Ross G. From Iowa: Jim B. From Idaho: John and Carlene U. From the Netherlands: Jort V. From Washington: Nick and Diane L. And finally from Utah: Bob B.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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