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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 taken Spring 2012 ~ © Copyright Frank Smith All Rights Reserved

~ April 2019 ~

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

Tuesday - April 30th

29 degrees in Gardiner and 25 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 42 degrees in the park. I had one moose in Round Prairie this morning. A golden eagle flew over the new bison carcass at Slough Creek this morning. I got to see a white faced ibis today in Soda Butte Valley, apparently quite rare in Yellowstone. At 6:15 a.m. I found a black wolf bedded about thirty yards from the Junction Butte den at Slough Creek. At 10:30 a.m. Frank H called to say a grizzly was coming to the new bison carcass about two hundred yards from the Slough Creek Den. The bison died of natural causes, in a close place for the wolves to feed. The large grizzly was found by Frank H north and east of the Horizontal Forest. When it got to the carcass the gray yearling wolf met the grizzly and bit the grizzly’s backside before grabbing a large piece of meat and departing. The grizzly ate for quite a while then moved back up to the Diagonal Forest. At 11:20 a.m. we had a dark grizzly digging in the same place as yesterday on the A-Z Meadow. At 1:15 p.m. the small light grizzly was back digging in Round Prairie. At 2:45 p.m. I returned to the bison carcass at Slough where a live bison bull was attempting to protect the carcass while two black wolves and one gray wolf (probably the three yearlings) entertained the visiting bull bison. At 3:30 p.m. I spotted a black bear on Tower Hill. At 5:20 p.m. we had a small cinnamon black just off the road on Tower Hill. This one of two cinnamon black bears has no fear of people or traffic.

~ May 2019 ~

Wednesday - May 1st

27 degrees in Gardiner but only 19 degrees at Slough Creek in the morning warming up to 43 degrees. There were six moose in Round Prairie this morning, three on the west side and three on the east side of the prairie. At 5:55 a.m. Frank H called saying the grizzly was sleeping on the bison carcass. About 6:10 a.m. the wolves woke up and gathered near the grizzly on the carcass. We had seven blacks and one gray, but 907F came out of the den later, so we were missing 969F and 1109F. At 6:35 a.m. I found a large grizzly going south of the west end of Jasper Bench. At 6:55 a.m. I found a large grizzly coming south from the large meadow behind the east end of Jasper Bench. At 11:45 a.m. I found a medium sized grizzly on A-Z Meadow digging. At 12:00 noon John G found a medium sized dark grizzly digging on the Salad Bowl/Divide Ridge. At 12:35 p.m. a black un-collared yearling from the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moved through Round Prairie going east. At 2:25 p.m. from Coyote Overlook John G found a light grizzly in the Salad Bowl. I assumed the same grizzly as earlier looking different in the light. But no, it was a grizzly sow and yearling cub digging. After a while they both stood up and ran uphill. They would run for a couple of hundred yards then stop and look in different directions each time they stopped. They ran over snow strips and through open bare ground for fifteen minutes or so. We never found what upset them. They finally disappeared in the trees on the east side of Salad Bowl. At 6:15 p.m. a larger black bear with a medium cinnamon black bear were on the Yellowstone River Bridge. This combination has been seen often, sometimes with two medium cinnamon black bears and sometimes by themselves and sometimes with one cinnamon and the larger black bear. What the locals think is that the two two-year-old cinnamon black bears denned together or met early in the spring and decided to stay together. The black one may be their mother, or just a larger black that wants to hang with the cinnamons. At 6:30 p.m. the white faced black bear sow with two yearlings were just off the road just west of Upper Hellroaring Pullout. I have seen this sow before; it’s like mange or something that makes the bear lose hair, usually on its face. At 6:35 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a small cinnamon black bear on the east end of Phantom Lake.

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

Thursday - May 2nd

37 degrees in Gardiner and 32 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to a windy at times 44 degrees. I had a male dusky grouse in the road this morning near Upper Hellroaring Pullout. I also had a golden eagle flying above the Confluence this morning. At 5:50 a.m. the large grizzly was still on the bison carcass near the Slough Creek Den. Later it moved west towards Junction Pass, not much left of the carcass. If fact early this afternoon a black bear came and ate at the carcass, and now the carcass is down to bird activity only. At 6:15 a.m. I found one black wolf near the Slough Creek den. More wolves were seen after I left to scope to the east. At 2:10 p.m. I found a small black bear northwest of Soda Butte East Pullout. At 2:50 p.m. we had a huge bear jam just east of Long Pullout in Little America. It was, I believe, the now three and one half year old sub adult thrown out last June by the Junction Butte sow. The little grizzly was sitting down watching a coyote when I arrived. I left after fifteen minutes and it was still sitting. I heard later the coyote bit the grizzly on the behind. I passed by later and the grizzly was walking north towards the Lamar River Corridor.

Friday - May 3rd

27 degrees in Gardiner and 22 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to a nice 59 degrees. I had a white tailed jackrabbit on the road going into the park this morning. I viewed a vulture circling above Footbridge Pullout this morning. Well it’s getting to be spring, lots of heavy snow removal equipment including rotary snowplows heading through Lamar Valley to the Beartooth Highway today. We had two moose on Dead Puppy Hill this afternoon viewed from Footbridge Pullout. I started my morning at Slough Creek with no bears on the bison carcass. However at 6:15 a.m. Frank H called with a medium sized grizzly back on the carcass. The grizzly did not stay too long before heading to the Diagonal Forest. At 7:00 a.m. Frank H found a large dark grizzly moving north from the Mixed Conifer Aspen Forest towards Junction Pass. At 7:20 a.m. John G looked at the three day old bison carcass north of the Old Road Pullout west of Dorothy's Pullout. At first he could see one small grizzly but soon the larger one appeared from behind the bison carcass. It was the grizzly sow with the two year old cub. They were there at the carcass for a long time then moved up and west out of sight. But to the delight of lots of photographers and tourists the pair of grizzlies returned and remained on the carcass most of the day. At 7:40 a.m. I got a brief look at a grizzly north in the ravine between Coyote Overlook and Dorothy's Pullout.

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

A medium sized grizzly moving east and north, I did not see that grizzly again today. At 9:15 a.m. Steve W found the grizzly sow and yearling cub south and west of Fisherman's Pullout. This clearing was a favorite clearing of Old Scarface and goes all the way up to the skyline and is just south of the Lamar Canyon. The pair were digging for over an hour before moving south and up and over the ridge. At 10:00 a.m. Melba C found one of the yearling Junction Butte black wolves on the skyline north and above the bison carcass north of Old Road Pullout with the grizzly sow and two year old cub still on it. At 11:30 a.m. I found a medium sized grizzly in the clearing where the sow and yearling had been at 9:15 a.m. I looked for forty minutes and could not find the cub. Thinking I just missed the cub I went on to the east. Returning tonight around 5:00 p.m. John G watched the same single grizzly in the same clearing. It was a different grizzly not the sow and yearling. At 12:20 p.m. John G found a dark grizzly digging in the bottom of A-Z Meadow. When I arrived at 12:05 p.m. Karol B had located a second dark grizzly digging about two hundred yards above the first grizzly. The second grizzly moved up the meadow and I lost it going through the trees. The lower grizzly disappeared into some lower trees. Good viewing of both grizzlies for three-quarters of an hour. At 3:45 p.m. Julie A found a collared black wolf of the Lamar Canyon pack south of Soda Butte middle pullout. It was 1197F and she soon bedded with little movement. Karol B came along and said a grizzly was in Round Prairie. At 4:10 p.m. I headed there expecting to see the small light grizzly that has been there, but had a large dark grizzly moving east through the clearing. Julie A called again now having three Lamar Canyon wolves south of Soda Butte Middle Pullout. They were slowly moving west across the Soda Butte Creek. Both yearlings (1197F and the un-collared black yearling) were identified. The third wolf looked like a male and was not Little T. The wolf people were trying to determine the identity of the wolves when I headed west. At 6:00 p.m. Dean D found a large grizzly digging high north of Coyote Overlook. A brief sighting as the grizzly moved east and out of sight quickly.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Rob and Elizabeth N, Lizzie C, Melba C, and Ilona P. From Colorado: Jeremy S and Karol B. From Missouri: Frank H. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. From Washington: David and Stephanie O. From Oklahoma: Robert and Pam W. From Texas: Carl L and Carol S. From Arizona: Reve and Susan. And from California: Bob and Nell H. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Washington: John G, Steve and Cindy L, and Froane and Judy S. From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Indiana: Jeff and Terry B. From Colorado: Ed A and Rick and Len H. From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. From Utah: Julie and Josie A, and Dean and Jeri D. From Wyoming: Steve and Helen W. And from Idaho: Tanner P. Other people seen this report: From Montana: Cliff B, Bob L, MacNeil L, Nathan V, Dan and Cindy H, Evan S, Allen K, Carl S, and Chris H. From Wyoming: Ross G. From the Netherlands: Jort V. From Iowa: Jim B. From Washington: Nick and Diane L. From Massachusetts: Ed S. And I almost forgot: From Utah: Bob B.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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