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Yellowstone National Park 2021 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

21 through 24 April 2021
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Black Bear Cubs Playing by John William Uhler ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ April 2021 ~

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

Wednesday - April 21st

22 degrees in Gardiner but 15 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 52 degrees. I saw my first kestrel in the park today. At 6:30 a.m. four black Junction Butte wolves were near the goal post below the Slough Creek den. At 9:10 a.m. four black and two gray Junction Butte wolves go to an unseen carcass in Crystal Drainage. At 10:00 a.m. Josh W found the grizzly digging in the Aspen Drainage east of the Slough Creek den area. They remained in sight till noon and then were back in sight from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. At 11:00 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear in the trees near the carcass in Crystal Drainage. Early in the day an 8-mile collared wolf was chased by the Junction Butte wolves in Crystal (which I did not see). Also, at 11:00 a.m. a black and a gray wolf were chased by the Junction Butte wolves, it was assumed that three 8 miles were in the area this morning.

Thursday - April 22nd

30 degrees in Gardiner but 17 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 52 degrees. I saw one moose in Round Prairie later in the day, but Jeff and Terry B had eleven moose there in early morning. Reports of a black bear sow with two cubs of the year denning under the road at Phantom Lake. I saw the sow a few days ago right off the road. This also happened about five years ago, and the park service was to block off the culvert on both ends to prevent it happening again. But they are back in there again this year (I did not see the cubs of the year). Before 6:00 a.m. Frank H found a grizzly really close to the Slough Creek wolf den. By the time I arrived the grizzly was being escorted through the Lion Meadow. It then went east past the Diagonal and then the Horizontal Forest, then seen later at the top of the Diagonal Forest and last seen moving west one ridge west of the Slough Creek den. At 8:30 a.m. 1228F a gray female and two black wolves were seen in Crystal Drainage. Another black wolf was spotted which turned out to be 1109F, often on her own these days. From 9:30 a.m. throughout the day the grizzly was digging in the Aspen Drainage east of the Slough Creek den. It was in sight most of the day and in sight at 6:30 p.m. when I left the area. From 5:30 p.m. for about an hour a large black bear was above the yellow grass meadow above the Slough Creek Campground.

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

Friday - April 23rd

32 degrees in Gardiner but 27 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to 49 degrees. I had two eared grebes in a little pond in Little America this morning. I also saw about sixty or so avocets in the big pond south in Little America this afternoon. I had two jack rabbits near the arch in Gardiner today. At 8:00 a.m. a black wolf bedded near the Slough Creek den area. At 1:40 p.m. the alpha female a black, one gray and one un-collared black wolf all come out of the Sage Den this afternoon. At 2:00 p.m. a fourth black wolf seen around the Slough Creek Den. At 3:00 p.m. the large dark grizzly was digging in the Aspen Drainage to the east and high just below the snow again (three day in a row we have seen him). At 4:30 p.m. we had a small blond grizzly digging north of the Institute. I watched it to 5:15 p.m. and was still in sight. I travelled to the east and when I came back at 5:45 p.m. it was still digging in the same spot.

Saturday - April 24th

36 degrees this morning in Gardiner warming up to 50 degrees this afternoon. Six moose probably all bulls were seen this morning in Round Prairie across the road from Pebble Creek Campground. I had a cow moose bedded a ways off the road east of the North Butte Pullout on the Blacktail tonight. The population of bison on the Northern Range is at an all-time high. Bison jams occur several times a day and quite long when on a bridge or an area with nowhere for the bison to get off the road. Visitors will have to allow more time to get around this year! At 6:15 a.m. we had two black bedded wolves at the Slough Creek den area. At 8:15 a.m. five wolves were spotted north of Coyote Overlook on the north side of the road moving west. They were three blacks and two grays; I only saw one black wolf. At 9:50 a.m. I found the small blond grizzly from yesterday again north of the Institute digging. Almost all the grizzlies we see digging are in areas that have melting snow and some bare ground. Maybe easier for the grizzlies to dig in those areas. At 10:30 a.m. Laurie L had the large dark grizzly high in the Aspen Drainage east of the den (fourth day seen in that area). At 10:40 a.m. Laurie L found the grizzly sow with one large two-year-old cub coming out of the Horizontal Forest (same pair we saw about a week ago for three straight days). They must have been staying in the forest all morning since they were not seen until mid-morning. At 1:30 p.m. Larry M found a young grizzly digging north of the Coyote and Dorothy's Pullouts viewed from the western end of Dorothy's Pullout. It was digging on bare ground downhill from a snow patch. A nice colorful grizzly which I think was one of the two sub adults that the Slough Creek grizzly sow threw out last June. I saw them numerous times there last September and October. At 2:15 p.m. a dark grizzly was seen digging on the east end of Druid Peak viewed from Picnic Pullout.

Yellowstone Wolf and Buffalo ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

People Seen

Wolf Watchers seen this report: From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Jeremy S, Taylor B, Dan and Laurie L, Wendy B, and Melba C. From Missouri: Frank H. From Utah: Paul H. From South Dakota: Sam and Ginny G. From Minnesota: Scott W. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Colorado: Tanner H and Sarah. From Montana: Shari S and Doug M. From Utah: Larry M, Mark and Liz H, and Kevin N. From Idaho: Blake M. From Ohio: Jim and Twyla E. Others seen this report: From Montana: Bob L, MacNeil L, Dan and Cindy H, Emil M, Shauna B, Josh W, Bob C, and Cliff B. From Florida: Mark L. From Wyoming: Keith M, and Paul B. From Indiana: Jeff and Terry B. From Iowa: Jim B.

Yellowstone Moose ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved John William Uhler

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