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Yellowstone National Park 2023 Trip Reports

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin

27 September through 03 October 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

~ September 2023 ~

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

Wednesday - September 27th

48 degrees this morning leaving Idaho Falls, Idaho. It warmed up to 71 degrees north of Yellowstone Park where I camped for the night. Ten grizzlies were viewed tonight including one sow with two cubs of the year, one sow with two yearlings, two subadult grizzlies and four individual grizzlies.

Thursday - September 28th

32 degrees this morning north of Gardiner, Montana warming up to 66 degrees in Lamar Valley this afternoon. I watched fourteen grizzlies this morning north of the park including two sows with two cubs of the year each, one sow with two yearlings, and five individual grizzlies. At 10:30 a.m. I viewed seven black and four gray wolves, some of whom were puppies, low in Antelope Creek below Trashcan #57. These were the Rescue Creek wolfpack that now numbers eighteen wolves (seven black adults, three gray adults, seven black puppies, and three gray puppies). At 6:40 p.m. I viewed a black yearling wolf of the Junction Butte pack moving east through the old Druid rendezvous area.

Friday - September 29th

28 degrees this morning in Silver Gate warming up to 70 degrees out in Lamar Valley. From 10:45 a.m. through 11:45 a.m. I watched nine black and five gray Rescue Creek wolves, some of whom were puppies. They were again in the bottom of Antelope Creek viewed from near Trashcan #57 pullout. At 12:00 noon I watched a large sleeping black bear on a rock between Calcite Springs and Tower Store. It was the second day that the bear had been sleeping in the same place. I thought maybe it was injured or sick, but it moved away later and was not seen again.

Saturday - September 30th

39 degrees in Silver Gate this morning warming up to 65 degrees. I watched a small bull moose at Antelope Creek this morning slowly crossing the large clearing. At 6:45 a.m. I had a brief sighting of a large grizzly in the area where the Rescue Creek wolves have been hanging around. I watched for two hours but the grizzly never came out of the patch of evergreens it went into, maybe the wolves had an old carcass there. From 6:45 a.m. through 8:40 a.m. I watched four black, and three Rescue Creek pups go on a big round about ending back in the same place. I heard in the afternoon that the Junction Butte wolves were on a bison carcass on the backside of Jasper Bench. I also heard that two different grizzlies had visited the carcass. The problem was that you had to hike or better said climb up behind Dorothy's Pullout to the 2nd or 3rd level. That is a climb but turned out to be worth it. From 5:00 p.m. through 6:15 p.m. I watched at least two black, and two gray wolves and 1276F around the carcass eating from time to time. At 5:30 p.m. the large grizzly with a stripe around its shoulder came to the carcass and controlled it.

~ October 2023 ~

Yellowstone Grizzly Cubs ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Sunday - October 1st

The park closed the Beartooth Highway today but would review it after a few days of projected snow and maybe reopen later. 45 degrees this morning in Silver Gate warming up to 54 degrees. With rubber legs from last night, I climbed up above Dorothy's Pullout again this morning. The same large grizzly was still on the bison carcass. From 7:30 through 8:20 a.m. I watched at least twelve Junction Butte wolves around the carcass. There may have been more but when the grizzly left all the wolves rushed into the carcass and I was sharing on scope at that minute. I had a THREE DOG DAY today, finding the fox on the road near Baronette this evening.

Monday - October 2nd

Since I did not have to leave the park this morning because our government did not shut down the parks. It was 28 degrees at Silver Gate this morning warming up to 59 degrees in the park. From 8:35 a.m. through 10:30 a.m. I watched two sub adult grizzlies digging away on A-Z Meadow viewed from either Coyote or Dorothy's Pullout. These are still small grizzlies and the wet summer had made the grass taller than the grizzlies. At 9:00 a.m. Michael S showed me a small black bear grazing on the Northern Divide Ridge, sometimes called the Salad Bowl.

Tuesday - October 3rd

37 degrees this morning warming up to 54 degrees with some rain and snow on the higher peaks. At 11:00 a.m. Michele from Wolf Tracker found the Junction Butte wolves on the slopes of Hellroaring from Lower Hellroaring Pullout. It was crowded at Lower, so I went to the Upper Pullout. They remained bedded for a time then a partial group of four black and two grays decided to move up hill. After about forty minutes they decided to return to the other wolves still bedded in sagebrush. I moved on knowing that more wolves were probably bedded there and not likely to move until near dusk. At 1:30 p.m. Sandy H showed me 1276F on yesterday’s carcass at Crystal Creek (others had twelve wolves there yesterday but I did not go through the 30-minute construction delays in Lamar Canyon and missed seeing them). 1276F had been kicked by either an elk or a bison recently and it looks its the jaw has been broken. This may be fatal, and the slower jaw is hanging down. I missed two grizzlies today: a dark grizzly was seen early digging above Ice Box Canyon and later in Round Prairie, and the second one was a small grizzly who crossed the Slough Creek Campground Road. But surprise as I was leaving Crystal Pullout watching for 1276F to return, I saw a grizzly near the Lamar River Bridge. It was on the north side of the road and crossed the Lamar River creating a large bear Jam near Aspen Pullout. A very fat grizzly, really in good shape for this time of the year. At 2:35 p.m. I found a large black bear moving towards the Diagonal Forest in Slough Creek.

Yellowstone Wolf ~ © Copyright All Rights Reserved Gerry Hogston

People seen

Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Jeremy S, and Taylor R. From California: Dan and Laurie L, and Bill W. From New York: Rick and Maureen B. From Germany: Thomas and Christine. From Tennessee: Stacey A. From Vermont: Joanne H. From North Dakota: Sandy H. Bear Watchers seen this report: From Montana: Doug M. From Oklahoma: Shaun and Regina W. From Tennessee: Mike and Donna F. And from Wyoming: Tom H. Others seen this report: From Montana. Mike S, Michael S, Kate J, Quinn H, Email M, Chris H, Kyle, Grant J, Nate U, Shauna B, Russ K, Evan S, and Amy T. And from Colorado: Tom 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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