Yellowstone National Park 2020 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
01 through 08 June 2020
Yellowstone National Park
~ June 2020 ~
Monday - June 1st
The park was not to open until 10:00 a.m. so I took my time going up this morning. I saw a pair of nesting trumpeter swans in Island Park on my way up. Lines at the west entrance to the park were not too bad considering I went thru there about 10:20 a.m. I saw a pair of nesting trumpeter swans in Swan Lake south of Mammoth. Lots of water in Phantom Lake now and it remained half full for my entire trip; I know they had a heavy snowpack but guess they raised the exit also. The Lamar River was at its maximum height today with the water entirely over for boulder in Lamar Canyon (I have only seen it above that boulder a hand full of times), so the river was way up. A nice warm day with a high of 79 degrees. At 2:30 p.m. I had a cinnamon black bear on the # 3 finger on Norris. At 2:45 p.m. I spotted a grizzly sow with two cubs of the year (coys) on a lower slope of Norris viewed from Footbridge Pullout. A note, this was the only grizzly sow with coys I was able to find from Tower Junction all the way to Pebble Creek for my entire trip. At 3:20 p.m. Dean D found a large grizzly digging on Penny Lane viewed from Hitching Post. At 4:05 p.m. I found a large cinnamon black bear on the A-Z Meadow. At 5:20 p.m. we had a small cinnamon black bear in the clearing on the skyline east of Penny Lane. At 6:15 p.m. I found three black and one gray Junction Butte wolf pups near the Slough Creek den. The makeup of the Junction Butte pack is as follows: 1047M the black alpha male, a uncollared black female is the alpha female, 1048M a black male, 996M a black male, 1109F a black female, 907F a gray female, 1228F a gray female yearling, 1229F a black female yearling, a black two year old male, a black two year old female, a gray two year old male, and six black yearlings (totaling 14 black and 3 gray adult wolves). Totalling eighteen with this year's pups - 11 black and 7 gray. The pack had been in the sage den before the park opened, but then moved them back into the natal den. They figure that three females had pups, and all were staying in the natal den (the females were the black alpha female, 907F a gray and the black uncollared two-year-old). In addition, it was thought that 1109F may have her pups somewhere in Lamar Valley or near Cache Creek. At 6:40 p.m. Hayden G found a courting pair of grizzlies in Crystal Drainage viewed from Slough Creek restroom (by the way they have installed a second restroom building next the first one near the highway, although it wasn't open when I left). At 8:00 p.m. I watched a large dark grizzly was south of Picnic Pullout roaming thru the bison herds, finally being pushed back into the tree line. At 8:15 p.m. I found a black bear in the tree line south and east of Trashcan Pullout. At 8:50 p.m. a collared gray wolf belonging to the Mollie's Pack was found by Don P who showed it to me in Round Prairie. The Mollie's pack spent quite a bit of time in the Pebble Creek area during the first two weeks of June.
Tuesday - June 2nd
I camped near Silver Gate my entire trip. At daylight it was 46 degrees warming up to 72 degrees. I had a fox this morning, but could not find a coyote all day, so no three dog day. We viewed a pair of golden eagles north of Trashcan Pullout today, a mature and an immature. I had my only muskrat of the trip in a small pond near Boulder Pullout today. At 4:25 a.m. in the dark I had a large dark grizzly right off the road at Upper Barronette. At 5:25 a.m. 1109F and the black uncollared adult were south of Picnic but moved west to chew on bones of a week and a half old bison carcass south of Fisherman's Pullout. At 5:45 a.m. Randi M found a courting pair of grizzlies northeast of the Institute and they were out again at 8:00 p.m. A note on the Institute: the part of Yellowstone Forever that had classes for almost everything that people could sign up and attend, usually 3-5 day classes, often offering lodging at the Old Buffalo Ranch. Well due to financial concerns Yellowstone Forever dropped the entire program, laying off thirty full time employees. At 6:15 a.m. I spotted a black bear in the tree line south of Trashcan. At 6:15 a.m. two black wolves were seen south of Trashcan (almost all the wolf sightings were the Junction Butte wolves, only two occasions did I see members of the Mollie's wolf pack). At 6:40 a.m. I found a cinnamon black bear in the A-Z Meadow. At 7:10 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear on Middle Ridge viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 7:20 a.m. I watched a dark grizzly in the Salad Bowl. At 8:15 a.m. Dean D found a medium sized grizzly northwest of Picnic Pullout. At 8:50 a.m. Richard R found a dark grizzly on Calfee viewed on the Confluence. At 1:45 p.m. the grizzly sow with two coys were spotted on a lower slope of Norris. At 2:55 p.m. we had a grizzly sow with two yearlings under the snow cornices viewed to the south and west high from Footbridge Pullout. At 5:25 p.m. I spotted a large cinnamon black bear at the Yellowstone River Bridge. At 6:00 p.m. two black adult wolves, and five black and four gray puppies were spotted near the Slough Creek den. At 6:45 p.m. we watched a grizzly visit the old bison carcass south of Fisherman's Pullout. At 7:15 p.m. my last sighting for the day was a black bear east of Ski Slope.
Wednesday - June 3rd
37 degrees this morning warming up to 70 degrees with afternoon showers. I had a pine marten on the road this morning before first light, and a cow moose later in the morning. At 5:40 a.m. the grizzly sow with two coys were on the lower slopes of Norris viewed from the Confluence. At 6:20 a.m. Richard R had a grizzly on A-Z Meadow viewed from Trashcan. At 6:35 a.m. I found a dark grizzly high on the east end of Druid Peak. At 6:45 a.m. Rita R found a collared grizzly north of Trashcan; this was the only time we saw this grizzly. At 8:30 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear near the Marge Simpson Tree in Slough Creek. At 9:00 a.m. one adult gray and two black wolves were near the Slough Creek den. At 9:50 a.m. the four-year-old brown grizzly was on Junction Butte. At 8:30 a.m. Richard R found a dark grizzly high above Dorothy's Pullout from Long Pullout in Little America. At 4:00 p.m. I spotted a small black bear high south of the # 3 finger on Norris. At 5:40 p.m. Mike F found a courting pair of grizzlies north of the Institute. At 6:35 p.m. we had a cinnamon black bear on the Divide Ridge viewed from Slough Creek. At 7:15 p.m. I spotted a black bear on Penny Lane. At 8:00 p.m. four black (two of four collared) and one gray collared Mollies wolves were seen at the Footbridge Pullout. Good viewing for thirty minutes or so, as some were south and others north, lots of howling back and forth. At 8:35 p.m. I spotted a dark large grizzly in the Chalcedony Fan.
Thursday - June 4th
44 degrees this morning warming up to 73 degrees. I had a badger cross the road in front of me today. At 5:35 a.m. Randi M found a grizzly on a carcass north of Fisherman's Pullout viewed from Coyote Overlook (small carcass the grizzly did not stay long). At 5:40 a.m. Randi M found another grizzly north of Fisherman's Pullout, a little smaller grizzly who did not encounter the first grizzly. At 5:40 a.m. I found a grizzly north of Coyote Overlook. At 5:50 a.m. we had a courting pair of black bears with a big black and a smaller cinnamon bear east of A-Z Meadow. At 7:00 a.m. Dean D found the grizzly with two yearlings high under the snow cornices viewed from Footbridge Pullout. At 7:45 a.m. Dean D found a large dark grizzly south of K-2 clearing moving west. At 8:00 a.m. I watched a cinnamon black bear on the # 3 finger on Norris. At 9:00 a.m. Randi M found a small colorful grizzly on the snow cornice digging high and south of the grizzly family. At 9:25 a.m. we had a big cinnamon and a small black bear on the # 3 finger on Norris (probably a courting pair, but maybe a sow with yearling cub). At 4:00 p.m. Randi M found a grizzly high above Coyote Overlook from Long Pullout in Little America. At 5:30 p.m. three black and one gray adult wolves and one black pup were seen near the Slough Creek den. At 6:50 p.m. we watched a cinnamon black bear in the large clearing behind the east end of Jasper Bench. At 8:10 p.m. I found a cinnamon black bear off road at Upper Barronette Pullout.
Friday - June 5th
37 degrees this morning warming up to a warm 85 degrees. Randi M showed me my first bighorn sheep lamb this morning west of the snow cornices. Someone found a small bison carcass near the Peregrine Hills in Little America. At 5:15 a.m. a collared black wolf was on the small bison carcass (we checked that carcass for the next week and never saw another animal on it). At 5:40 a.m. we had a black wolf on the old bison carcass south of Fisherman's At 6:05 a.m. I spotted a small grizzly north of Picnic Pullout. At 6:15 a.m. another small grizzly was above the first grizzly north of Fisherman's (perhaps a pair of sub adults, but did not seem to ever get together). At 6:20 a.m. 1048M black wolf bedded south west of Picnic Pullout. At 7:30 a.m. we had a brief sighting of a colorful grizzly under the snow cornice, was back in sight at 8:50 p.m. At 7:40 a.m. I spotted a cinnamon black bear on the # 3 finger on Norris. At 8:15 a.m. I found a small colorful grizzly between the # 1 finger on Norris and Dead Puppy Hill to the south. At 9:00 a.m. Terri W found the grizzly sow with two coys on Dead Puppy Hill hunting elk calves; today they later moved and crossed the road just west of Hitching Post moving north. At 10:15 a.m. we had a black bear at Lower Hellroaring. At 2:30 p.m. I spotted a small colorful four-year-old grizzly on the south face of Junction Butte. At 6:30 p.m. I found two grizzlies high above Coyote Overlook viewed from Little America. I think a courting pair. The large one had a severe limp every time he moved, and the smaller one circled the large one before finally moving away by itself out of sight. At 7:45 p.m. Rick H found the Slough Creek grizzly sow with her two two-year-old cubs north of Coyote Overlook. At 8:30 p.m. we had a black bear sow with one coy in the tree line south of the Institute. At 8:40 p.m. a courting pair of grizzlies were in K Meadow.
Saturday - June 6th
47 degrees this morning warming up to 68 degrees. At 5:55 a.m. the Slough Creek sow with her two two-year-old cubs were north of Coyote. At 6:30 a.m. Doug M (bear watcher) found a courting pair of grizzlies north of Trashcan Pullout. At 6:40 a.m. Doug M (bear watcher) found the grizzly sow with two coys near the Moosehead from Trashcan Pullout. At 7:55 a.m. I found a black bear high on the # 3 finger on Norris. At 8:00 a.m. I spotted a courting pair of grizzlies in K Meadow. At 8:20 a.m. Hayden G found the small colorful grizzly on the # 1 finger on Norris. At 9:30 a.m. we had a black uncollared wolf northwest of Coyote Overlook. At 1:40 p.m. we watched a small colorful grizzly on the bottom of Junction Butte on the east side (this small blond grizzly was perhaps this years sub adult, 2 1/2 years old). We were able to find two small grizzlies around the Butte this year, the 2 1/2 blond grizzly and the four year old brown sub adult. At 2:00 p.m. we had a black bear in the Chalcedony Fan. At 3:15 p.m. Randi M found the grizzly with the two yearlings under the snow cornice. At 6:25 p.m. I spotted a black bear on Tower Hill. At 7:40 p.m. I watched a medium sized grizzly in the K Meadow digging and traveling.
Sunday - June 7th
47 degrees this morning and it did not warm up at all. I viewed a Northern Shoveler duck today. At 5:50 a.m. Hayden G found two large grizzlies near the skyline on Norris viewed from Trashcan Pullout. At 6:10 a.m. we spotted two adult grizzlies south of Trashcan Pullout in the bare steep cliffs (not sure what relationship, they were close together but did not appear to be a courting pair). At 6:20 a.m. Randi M found the grizzly sow with two yearlings high south of Trashcan running away from the two larger grizzlies. At 6:30 a.m. a black and a gray wolf south of Exclosure, they were moving east. At 7:15 a.m. Richard R found the grizzly sow with two coys north of Trashcan Pullout. At 7:30 a.m. Richard R found a small grizzly north of Trashcan Pullout. In total we viewed eleven different grizzlies from the Trashcan Pullout in about one and a half hours. At 12:50 p.m. I spotted a black bear south of Trashcan in the tree line. At 1:15 p.m. we had a small black bear below Druid Peak. At 2:10 p.m. I spotted a small black bear in the tree line under K Meadow. At 4:10 p.m. we had a collared gray wolf on the old bison carcass south of Fisherman's Pullout At 4:30 p.m. we watched the small blond 2 1/2-year-old sub adult grizzly near the Peregrine Hills in Little America. At 4:40 p.m. I spotted a small cinnamon black bear south of Straight-away Pullout in Little America. At 5:05 p.m. we had a black bear at Floating Island Lake. At 5:10 p.m. two black wolves were seen on the Hellroaring Slopes. At 7:40 p.m. we had a grizzly sow with one yearling in No Bear Meadow viewed from the Institute. At 7:50 p.m. I spotted a black bear south of the Institute in a low clearing.
Monday - June 8th
33 degrees this morning with rain, sleet, wind and snow on the high mountains warming up to 48 degrees. They closed the Bear Tooth Highway today. I spotted a cow moose today. At 6:00 a.m. Hayden G found the grizzly with one yearling in Bear Meadow viewed from the Institute. At 7:50 a.m. I spotted a black bear in the tree line south of Long Pullout. At 9:15 a.m. we had a grizzly up in the snow high south of # 1 finger on Norris. At 10:00 a.m. we watached a black bear in the tree line south of Midpoint Pullout. At 10:20 a.m. I spotted a grizzly north of the Institute. At 10:45 a.m. we watched a cinnamon black bear in the A-Z Meadow. At 11:15 a.m. we had a courting pair of grizzlies on the Middle Ridge viewed from Coyote Overlook. At 11:25 a.m. we had another courting pair of grizzlies running on Jasper Bench (we recognized the boar as the one from K Meadow a few days ago). At 2:30 p.m. I found a black yearling wolf bedded south of Coyote Overlook. At 4:30 p.m. we had a black bear sow with two yearling cubs on K Meadow. At 4:40 p.m. we watched a big black bear chase the black bear family into the trees on K Meadow. At 5:45 p.m. Richard R found the Slough Creek grizzly sow with two two-year olds above Coyote Overlook from Long Pullout in Little America. At 7:00 p.m. five black and one gray adult wolves plus eleven puppies were seen near the Slough Creek Den. At 7:50 p.m. Dave H found a pair of sub adults north of the Institute near a few snow patches.
Wolf Watchers Seen this entire trip June 1st thru July 2nd
From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Melba C, Alan K, Becky C and Chloe F, Jeremy S, Laurie and Dan L, Don and Paula V, Ilona P, Ron and Linda, and Barb M. From Vermont: Don P. From Mississippi: Chuck and Wynelle M and Gary G. From Oregon: Dale and Faye B, and Bruce and Kelly H. From Utah: Paul and Ryan H, Jerry and Julia C, and Lizzie C. From California: Kathie L. From New York: Wendy B. From Texas: Carl L and Carol S. From Kansas: Calvin and Lynette J. From Wyoming: Larry and Linda H. From Arizona: Reve and Susan. From Colorado: Steve and Robin M, Fry. Washington: Larry and Linda R. From Idaho: Craig C. From Minnesota: Scott and Beth W. From Florida: Andy and Missy O, and from Canada: Jeff A.
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