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Yellowstone National Park 2021 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

24 through 27 March 2021
Yellowstone National Park

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

~ March 2021 ~

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

Wednesday - March 24th

I left Idaho Falls about 7:00 a.m. and made good time arriving in Gardiner about noon. Only a little ice on the road south of Ennis, Montana. Hundreds of elk and bunches of pronghorn antelope south of Ennis, and a few elk and mule deer outside Gardiner. High today of 35 degrees and a I had seven different coyotes in the park today. At 12:40 p.m. the Junction Butte pack was this side of Hellroaring Creek viewed from Upper Hellroaring (see map). They eventually started chasing a few elk and I counted 12 black and 4 gray wolves. Others had a count of 20 wolves there today. The Junction Butte pack has split into two groups now. The largest is the group we saw today containing 22 or 23 wolves with 7 being gray in color. The other group is ten strong called 1154F group (she is a former member of the 8 Mile pack). All but one of the rest of the group are former Junction Butte wolves. At 4:00 p.m. 1239F a gray Mollie wolf was on a carcass south and east of the Soda Butte Cone. She is currently off by herself. The remaining Mollies pack number a total of 7. 1239F was chewing on an old carcass near the river corridor.

Thursday - March 25th

It was 22 degrees this morning at Blacktail Plateau with light snow and times in the morning of low visibility because of the falling snow. I spotted a cow moose in the willows next to the Blacktail Deer Restroom. At 9:30 a.m. eight members of the Wapiti Lake wolf pack finished off a bison north of the road between the Petrified Tree Packing Lot and the road to the Petrified Tree. The count was 5 gray and 3 black wolves. The pack was split today with the alpha pair and the larger portion not present today. I watched off and on today mainly from Elk Creek (see linked map). The viewing was great at the carcass when the wolves came to the carcass, but most of the time they bedded just over the hill and it was good watching them from Elk Creek. My count was only seven, I never saw the fifth gray. The Junction Butte pack was at Hellroaring again this morning but snow falling prevented me seeing them. However, at around 10:00 a.m. they showed up at Junction Lake which can been viewed from the Petrified Tree Parking Lot. They immediately bedded but around 3:30 p.m. After a while they moved south and we relocated them north of Boulder Pullout traveling east towards Slough Creek. The count today was 13 black and 7 gray wolves. Later in the day they were in good view north in Slough Creek, I missed that sighting. I did have a THREE DOG DAY today and all at the same time. A few wolves were bedded up the hill from the carcass when a fox visited it, and a coyote ran behind us at the parking lot.

Friday - March 26th

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

It was a cool 32 degrees at Gardiner but 18 degrees going though Lamar Valley this morning. It snowed a little during the night and was lightly snowing early in the morning. I had a jack rabbit in Mammoth this morning and a bull moose with antlers just starting to form south of the Soda Butte Cone. The Mollies wolf pack had made a kill on an elk late yesterday on the 3rd Finger on Norris viewed from the Soda Butte Valley. Six or seven wolves were seen in the area. I only saw two blacks and two grays and viewed them early this morning and early afternoon. At 9:00 a.m. I was back at Elk Creek watching the Wapiti Lake group bedded over the hill from the carcass. I had three blacks and three grays, missing two grays this morning. Around 6:20 p.m. I was heading back to Gardiner when I ran into Mark M. at the S Curve on the Black Tail. He had 19 wolves that ended up being the 8 Mile Pack. The count was 9 gray and 10 black wolves.

Saturday - March 27th

It was 34 degrees in Gardiner but 24 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning with an afternoon temperature of 41 degrees with early clouds but afternoon sunshine. Only wolf action today was at the three day old bull bison carcass at Petrified Tree Parking Lot. The pack went to the carcass this morning for several hours and again this evening for over an hour, so the photographers were really happy. The rest of the day they went over the hill and were visible from Elk Creek. At 2:15 p.m. I pulled into Upper Hellroaring with a crowd of people including Becky B and wolf/bear watchers that usually watch Hayden Valley. Becky B had spotted a small grizzly northwest of the large basalt cliff. Not sure what the grizzly was doing as it moved around for over 45 minutes never going farther then 10 yards.

Wolf Watchers seen this report: From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Melba C, Barb M, Wendy B, Reve and Susan, and Jeremy S. From California: Dan and Laurie L and Kathie L and Mark M. From Mississippi: Chuck and Wynelle M. From Washington: Froane and Judy S. Bear Watchers seen this report: Doug M, and Mike and Kathy W. Others seen this report: From Montana: Cliff B, Bob L, Carl S, Grant J, Taylor B, Brandon N, and Jim and Judy W. From the Netherlands: Jort.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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