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Yellowstone National Park 2023 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

26 through 29 April 2023
Yellowstone National Park

Beautiful Mountain Lion ~ Lamar Valley ~ April 10th, 2023 ~ Photo by Linda Rudge Carney ~ All Rights Reserved

Beautiful Mountain Lion ~ Lamar Valley ~ April 10th, 2023 ~ Photo by Linda Rudge Carney © All Rights Reserved

Mountain Lion ~ also known as the Cougar, Puma, Panther, or Catamount ~ Puma concolor

~ April 2023 ~

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

Wednesday - April 26th

37 degrees in Gardiner but only 27 degrees at Slough Creek this morning warming up to a nice 58 degrees with a chilly afternoon breeze. Lots of bison are moving into the Tower and Little America areas now. Karyn de K showed me my first muskrat of the year swimming in Slough Creek today. Paul H showed me my first two vultures flying over Slough Creek today. Yesterday I heard of a new bison carcass in Lamar Valley near the Hitching Post Pullout. Frank H and I decided to check it out early this morning. Glenda M had seen the carcass yesterday south of Hitching Post Pullout just west of the new growth forest. When we arrived, Glenda had the grizzly in view on the bull bison carcass. Soon afterward the grizzly decided to lay on the carcass and take a nap. The grizzly moved away to the east around 9:00 a.m. To my knowledge only two coyotes visited the carcass after that. At 11:00 a.m. Doug M (wolf watcher) found 1276F just outside the sage den in Slough Creek. Only in view for a few minutes she never got more than three feet from the den entrance then back into the den. Wolf watchers believed she looked a lot skinnier than yesterday. Consensus is that she had had the pups. 907F was also seen several times at the natal den. According to the wolf watchers she appeared to be skinnier and probably had pups. At 2:15 p.m. I got to see 907F at the porch of the natal den. All four sightings today were brief, and she returned back into the den.

Thursday - April 27th

44 degrees in Gardiner but only 33 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to 44 degrees. Apparently, the construction work will begin next week on the 22-mile stretch from Lamar Canyon West to the northeast entrance. Thirty-minute delays passing through the Lamar Canyon. They we also be blasting, which may close the road for even longer periods of time. At 5:45 a.m. the grizzly was back on the bison carcass south of Hitching Post Pullout. This was a dark grizzly who was laying on the carcass then periods of eating a little more. I headed back west to see what was going on. Bob L had a grizzly bear north of Fisherman's Pullout on the ridge line. When I arrived, the grizzly was out of sight. Bob L suggested I go to Coyote Overlook and fifteen minutes later the grizzly reappeared crossing west to east about one third of the way up the clearing. Good viewing for over twenty minutes. At 12:15 p.m. I heard that a second grizzly had come to the bison carcass south of Hitching Post. When I arrived, a large brown grizzly was on the carcass. Others said the new grizzly came from the south over the hill and ran off the first grizzly. We watched for about thirty minutes but then the grizzly moved off the carcass moving out of sight to the east. At 3:25 p.m. 907F of the Junction Butte wolfpack came out of the natal den for about fifteen minutes. Doug M saw her go behind the western trees, Paul H and I missed seeing her then. But fourteen minutes later Doug M called again to say that she was on the porch of the natal den. A brief sighting for my only wolf so far today. At 5:45 p.m. I saw Joe K and Melba C at the Wrath Falls pullout. They had the Rescue Creek Pack to the north of the road. They had all ten, but I only saw four black wolves and all three of the gray wolves in the pack.

Yellowstone Wolf ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

Friday - April 28th

30 degrees in Gardiner but only 19 degrees in Lamar Canyon this morning warming up to a nice 60 degrees out in the park. At 5:50 a.m. a large dark grizzly was on the bison carcass south of Hitching Post. Originally, he was bedded near the bison carcass but at first light he began feeding on the carcass. A nice sized dark grizzly. I moved on back to the west after one half an hour. Cliff B stayed in the area and told me later that the grizzly moved off the carcass shortly after I left going south and over the ridge and out of sight. At 10:15 a.m. I was back at Slough Creek watching the Slough Creek den area. 907F the alpha female came out of the den running downhill. Then others spotted the black alpha male who we discovered had returned from unknown places and bought back food. Later 1382F was seen running into the area and she got to eat too. At 11:40 a.m. I found 1276F coming out of the sage den. This wolf really blends into the ground and sagebrush. She was out for a long time moving around the western trees and howling once. She headed back into the sage den, and I headed back to the east. Rob M and Karyn K told me a black bear was bedded across the river and above the old redtail hawk nest in the rock formation. The black bear was sleeping. At 2:00 p.m. Kevin M found a grizzly out in the meadow south and across the river in Lamar Valley viewed from Trashcan Pullout. This grizzly appeared to be a younger grizzly (maybe the grizzly Bob L had north of Fisherman's) with a lot of brown in it. Not sure what it had in mind, but it was traveling the meadow from east to west post holing every third or fourth step. I watched him for almost an hour, and it was still in sight traveling west. Kevin stayed watching the grizzly after I left and reported that it moved all the way to south of the old Buffalo Ranch. There the grizzly found an old carcass of something it liked. The grizzly just followed his nose. At 2:50 p.m. a large black bear was feeding just east of the Yellowstone Picnic Area. I was told that the black bear with two cubs of the year left the den at Petrified Tree Pullout at 2:30 p.m. today.

Yellowstone Wolf Pup ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Saturday - April 29th

43 degrees in Gardiner but only 27 degrees in Lamar Valley this morning warming up to a nice 65 degrees. The snow is really disappearing now out in the valleys. Since I missed the new grizzly on the small new bison carcass at Blacktail Ponds for two days in a row I decided to stop and look this morning. I got there at 4:45 a.m. and got one of the last parking spaces in the pullout. Around 5:00 a.m. I saw a black spot where the carcass was and at 5:15 a.m. using my spotting scope although the distance was only fifty yards, I determined that was the grizzly. It is strange, this grizzly has a yellow ear tag but appears to know where to go to find the carcass and is not afraid of people, I hate close crowded bear jams so I left heading west. I was approaching the Hitching Post at 6:00 a.m. when Rick M stopped to tell me that he saw the grizzly leaving the carcass south of Hitching Post. Darn, I was hoping to see one there. I arrived and put up my spotting scope and not only was a large grizzly eating on the carcass, but a smaller dark grizzly was waiting it's turn ten yards away. The bull bison carcass was just about gone but both grizzlies were throwing the carcass around to get some good parts. Soon the large grizzly departed to the east and the smaller dark grizzly got his turn. I left but heard that the second grizzly left soon after disappearing out of sight. At 7:10 a.m. I found the small colorful grizzly that we watched yesterday northwest of Midpoint Pullout. It was moving slowly near the tree line and moved out of sight into deeper trees. At 1:45 p.m. I re-found the grizzly low on Ski Slope viewed from Coyote Overlook. Good viewing for thirty minutes or so digging in a snowless spot. Then he disappeared. At 2:20 p.m. from the old Buffalo Ranch I found the same grizzly this time digging just east of Amethyst Bench. Nice to see the grizzlies digging for food. At 8:55 a.m. friends had viewed a grizzly family in Round Prairie. When I arrived at Round Prairie the family was out of sight. However, just then the family reappeared. A nice sized sow grizzly with a rather tall yearling cub. Our first grizzly family in the Northern Range that I know about. The cub was playful and leading the sow into the tree line and out of sight. From 10:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. I watched the Slough Creek den area with others. We had 1276F out in view a lot today. We had a black and a gray wolf, both uncollared bring food to her. Later the alpha female 907F was seen laying on the porch (a small landing at the den hole) for fifteen minutes.

People Seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Dan and Laurie L, Wendy B, Melba C, Doug M and Joe K. From Missouri: Frank H. From California: Jim and Amber, Glenda M and Rick, and Bill W. From Washington: David and Stephanie O. From Utah: Paul H. From Idaho: Ray L and Kathy. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Louisiana: Bruce P. From Montana: Mike and Kathy W. From Wyoming: Kevin M. From Idaho: Jon and Karen E. And from Utah: Scott and Joann M. Others seen this report: From Montana: Bob L, Nate U, Mike S, Brad B, Evan S, Audra C, and Michael S. From California: Tim Z and Carol. From Rhode Island: Mark L. From Virginia: Big John B. From Vermont: John K. From Florida: Rick K, and Bill L. And from Idaho: Rob M and Karyn de K.

Beautiful Mountain Lion ~ Lamar Valley ~ April 10th, 2023 ~ Photo by Linda Rudge Carney ~ All Rights Reserved

Beautiful Mountain Lion ~ Lamar Valley ~ April 10th, 2023 ~ Photo by Linda Rudge Carney © All Rights Reserved

Mountain Lion ~ also known as the Cougar, Puma, Panther, or Catamount ~ Puma concolor

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Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park

Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park

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