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Yellowstone National Park 2019 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

04 through 07 May 2019 - Yellowstone National Park

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

~ May 2019 ~

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

Saturday - May 4th

40 degrees in Gardiner and 32 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 58 degrees under cloudy skies most of the day. Two moose were viewed in Round Prairie this morning. I found a vulture circling over Coyote Overlook this afternoon. At 6:10 a.m. we found the grizzly sow with one two year old cub on the bison carcass north of Old Road Pullout west of the Institute in Lamar Valley. They were on or around the carcass all day long. At 7:10 a.m. I found three black wolves on Norris heading south towards Dead Puppy Hill. I assumed these were the Lamar Canyon wolves that were near there last evening. As they came to the trail in front of Footbridge Pullout we noticed two of the wolves were collared (only one wolf in Lamar Canyon pack is collared: 1197F). The mystery was solved when Rick M showed up and identified the wolves at Junction Butte 1048M, and 996M and the un-collared black male. They eventually moved west and actually crossed the road near Coyote Overlook and made their way to the bison carcass controlled by the grizzly sow and two year old cub. At 8:00 a.m. Bob H found a grizzly south of the Enclosure in Lamar Valley. The large grizzly was moving east at the tree line and quickly moved out of sight. At 8:40 a.m. Bruce P found a large grizzly with a brown face digging south of Soda Butte East Pullout. The grizzly was in sight for over thirty minutes. At 11:00 a.m. we found three black wolves thought to be Junction Buttes, they were north and west of Mid Point pullout. After later sightings it may have been the two Lamar Canyon pups and one Junction Butte wolf. The heat rays made it impossible for the wolf people to be sure and could not detect collars. At 3:15 p.m. John G found a small light grizzly on the #2 Finger on Norris from Soda Butte East Pullout. We think this is the small light grizzly that had been in Round Prairie for four or five days. At 3:30 p.m. we had a large cinnamon black bear walking on the other side of the Soda Butte Creek viewed from the Soda Butte East Pullout. At 4:20 p.m. I found a dark grizzly on the west side of Salad Bowl/Divide Ridge viewed from Coyote Overlook. It was moving quickly to the north but good viewing for ten or more minutes. At 5:20 p.m. one black and one gray wolf of the Junction Butte pack bedded near the den at Slough Creek. I found a fox near Petrified Tree this evening so I had a THREE DOG DAY today.

Sunday - May 5th

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

46 degrees in Gardiner and 38 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to 53 degrees. Four moose on the west side of Round Prairie this morning and one moose on the east side of Round Prairie. The four moose were in view again around noon. At 5:30 a.m. the grizzly sow with one two year old cub were on the bison carcass north of Old Road Pullout in Lamar Valley. They stayed in the area until early afternoon when there departed. By then the carcass looked finished, coyotes had been there with a few different wolves in the morning, and only birds later in the afternoon. With the grizzly family there was a third larger and darker grizzly right with them on the carcass this morning. Tensions were high but the sow kept the cub behind her as they all feed on the now spread out carcass. The dark larger grizzly soon smelled the gathering crowd and exited slowly over the hill to the north. We also had two wolves on the carcass. Rick M arrived and said they were the two Lamar Canyon yearlings with 1197F there with her spiked metal collar (the park no longer used that type of collar). At 7:00 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear northwest of Soda Butte East Pullout. At 9:45 a.m. Doug M (bear watcher) was in the valley for the first time since early March. From Crystal Pullout west of the Lamar River Bridge he found the grizzly with one yearling cub on the west side of Middle Ridge. A nice sighting as Crystal Pullout was the only place to view the grizzly family. At 10:00 a.m. Frank H called saying he had the Slough Creek sow east of Bob's Knob but with only one of two yearling cubs. After moving from Crystal to view the Slough Creek Bowl (north and east of the bathroom) we found that indeed both cubs were with the nice looking sow. They put on a show for a lot of people digging and in view at pretty close range for quite a while. At 11:15 a.m. I found the small light grizzly again in the #2 Finger on Norris digging away. This grizzly was in view for quite a while and it was back in view this evening at 5:45 p.m. but had moved to the #1 Finger on Norris. At 3:20 p.m. Don L found a nice sized grizzly with a Yellowstone Stripe south of Fisherman's Pullout in Lamar Valley viewed from Coyote Overlook. Only viewed for about ten minutes before going over the west end of Jasper Bench. At 6:15 p.m. I found one black wolf near the eastern trees above the Slough Creek den who quickly bedded just east of the furthest eastern trees. A little storm was moving through the area so I could not determine if the wolf was collared.

Monday - May 6th

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

41 degrees in Gardiner and 37 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to a nice 63 degrees. Lots of low clouds and fog early this morning made watching for bears tough. Two moose seen in Round Prairie this morning, one south of the road and one north of the road. At 5:45 a.m. I was surprised that we had three grizzlies on the bison carcass north of Old Road Pullout in Lamar Valley. The sow with one two year old was present with a new larger boar grizzly (larger than the one yesterday). The carcass is spread out now but the three grizzlies were really close to each other. The large boar soon smelled the air and looked towards the road and proceeded to leave the area. The sow and two year cub stayed a little longer before moving away. At 6:00 a.m. 1197F the spike collared black Lamar Canyon went to the carcass but the grizzlies were still there. I only saw that wolf near the carcass, but later the other Lamar Canyon yearling and three Junction Butte wolves that crossed the road from south to north near the Institute all came to the carcass. At 7:35 a.m. I spotted a large black bear on Amethyst Bench. At 8:00 a.m. the un-collared black Junction Butte wolf (now the acting alpha female) was near the old bison carcass close to the den. At 8:25 a.m. one of the two black yearlings came in from the west to be greeted by the female. I do not think they bought any food. At 10:30 a.m. Evan S called with the small light grizzly digging again on the #1 Finger on Norris. This was a pretty young grizzly and was digging in view for quite a while. At 1:30 p.m. Dean D from the Crystal Pullout lot in Little America found a grizzly sow with two yearlings high north of Coyote Overlook running and playing in the snow. We did not see the Slough Creek sow with two yearlings today, so assume this was them. At 3:10 p.m. Evan S and Bruce P had a grizzly sow with two yearlings high on the slopes of Hellroaring. Bruce P gave me an idea of where to look and I found them. They were digging in a small clearing above the large meadow of Hellroaring. Long viewing but they remained in that clearing long enough for a lot of people to watch them. At 5:45 p.m. Dean D found 1197F and the other black yearling of the Lamar Canyon pack bedded high north of Coyote Overlook.

Tuesday - May 7th

Black Bear Sow and Cinnamon Cubs ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

44 degrees in Gardiner but 35 degrees in Lamar Valley with snow and low clouds most of the morning turning to rain mid morning. Watching was going to be a challenge in the morning. At 7:05 a.m. I found three black wolves south of Picnic Turnout moving slowly west but tough watching because of the falling snow. They moved down the valley and we lost them near the western end of Jasper Bench. I assume Junction Butte wolves, but not sure. At 8:00 a.m. the grizzly sow with two yearlings was about 300 yards north of Fisherman's Pullout in Lamar Valley. But to see the grizzlies you needed to go a little west to get high enough to see into the yellow grass meadow where they were for a couple of hours. Around 10:40 a.m. they moved up to the trees, where the sow nursed the cubs. Soon after they moved over the hill above the trees and out of sight. At 10:05 a.m. Rick and Len H told me about the 3 1/2 year old sub adult north of Aspen Pullout in Little America. He ran into two bull bison and ran them a little ways until they stopped and looked at the grizzly. The grizzly proceeded to the south and out of sight. At 11:45 a.m. my friends Dean and Jeri D had the grizzly sow with one two year old cub cross the road east of Soda Butte Middle from north to south. When I arrived we watched them on and off for over forty minutes. Later they reappeared on Finger #1 on Norris. Also at 11:45 a.m. Dean noticed the small light grizzly digging near where the sow and two year old cub were. The little grizzly stood up and looked a lot towards the family, then disappeared out of sight. A 12:15 p.m. someone noticed a large cinnamon black bear north of the road while we watched the three grizzlies on and off to the south. At 2:45 p.m. John G found the grizzly sow with one yearling on the Middle Ridge in Crystal with views from both Lamar Canyon West and Slough Creek Restroom. They were digging and kept close together. At 3:45 p.m. I found a grizzly digging south and west of Fisherman's on the skyline viewed from Coyote Overlook and the grizzly was in view for over thirty minutes. At 4:15 p.m. John G found a large grizzly digging a hole in a small clearing north of Trashcan Pullout. Lots of dirt around the hole he was digging. Not sure what he found but he did appear to take bites of something once in a while. At 5:00 p.m. we found a carcass in Lamar Valley. A grizzly was bedded on it and apparently covered it up. We had ravens in the area. At 5:05 p.m. we spotted an unusual looking gray wolf near the bear, a gray but with a lot of dark in it. This wolf had a dark face and dark lower legs plus a thick rope type tail, mild mange I think. I don't believe I have ever seen this wolf before. Around 5:25 p.m. we noticed a black collared wolf appeared near the grizzly and immediately bedded. At 6:20 p.m. I stopped at Upper Hellroaring and found the grizzly sow with two yearlings high up on the large meadow on the left side just before a few strips of snow. They were startled by something to the east which we could not see and ran to the west but settled down to digging after a few hundred yards.

People Seen

Black Bear Sow and Cinnamon Cubs ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Melba C, Barb M, Ron and Linda, Amy T, Linda C and Lizzie C. From Washington: David and Stephanie O. From Oklahoma: Robert and Pam W. From Colorado: Karol B. From California: Bob and Nell H, and Bill and Karen M. From Missouri: Frank H. From Texas: Carl L and Carol S. From Idaho: Craig C. From Utah: Jerry and Julia C, and Denny and Pam D. From Vermont: Don P. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Montana: Jack G, Doug M, Shari and Kate. From Wisconsin: Don L. From Washington: John G and Froane and Judy S. From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. From Indiana: Jeff and Terry B. From Colorado: Rick and Len H, and Ed A. From Oklahoma: Paul S. Others seen this report: From Montana: Cliff B, Rick E, Bob L, Evan S, Carl S, and George and Jenny B. From Wyoming: Pete B. From Florida: Rick and Vicky K. From Washington: Nick and Diane L. From the Netherlands: Jort V. From Colorado: Jim and Bobbie F. From Texas: Larry and Brandon J. From Iowa: Jim B. From Oregon: Dale and Elva P. And I also saw from Utah: Bob B.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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