Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

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karenandbill
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

Post by karenandbill »

There has been a lot of wolf activity this summer in the park especially with the Junction Buttes in Lamar, but fairly often with the Wapities in Hayden, and occasionally the Eight Mile pack near Blacktail. Haven't seen or heard about the Mollies since early June. I finally got to see the Junction Butte pups after several failed attempts. They left the original den but have been hanging out not too far away from there. Most, if not all of the 18, have survived so the pack is becoming quite large.

Black bears have been seen but not in the numbers of previous years. Might be due to the Tower Rd. closure. We've seen few grizzlies lately until this week. However, we did have a good view on July 20 in Lamar. A wolf was chewing on some remnants of a carcass near the river when a young grizzly came out of the trees heading straight for it. We thought that maybe we would have a wolf/bear encounter, but the griz quickly turned away from the wolf and the carcass and started running along the river in the opposite direction.

Image026 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Image017 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We did, however, get a bear/wolf encounter on Thursday, August 6. We arrived early and there were already some people out looking at a bison carcass. With binoculars it just looked like a huge mass of black, but once we got the scope on it, we could see 3-4 wolves on it with several others lying around. At least 5 blacks and 1 gray. There were also several grizzlies back near the trees that had apparently eaten on it earlier.We then saw a grizzly sow heading toward the carcass with 2 cubs playfully lumbering along behind heading straight for the carcass. Two wolves had already left heading west, presumably towards the pups. The other four, however, stopped eating and turned their attention to the griz family. The bears stopped and there was a brief stand off. No more playing by the cubs as it was all business now. Then mama bear decided to move forward and that prompted the 4 wolves to attack. The bears turned and started moving away with mama staying between the wolves and her cubs. But the wolves were on her quickly. She rose up and swatted at the wolves and after a brief skirmish the wolves stopped and headed back toward the carcass. One laid down still fairly close to the bears to keep an eye on them while the others started to feed again. The bears settled down and just waited. Then the wolves left one by one and soon the bears moved in sending the last wolf away. They proceeded to start chowing down as their persistence paid off. The other grizzlies headed off into the trees so the family had it to themselves. At one point the last wolf made an attempt to get back to the carcass but mama griz would have none of it and chased the wolf away. We drove down to get a better view and a photo that doesn't show up well, but if you look close you can see one of the cubs and mama just right of the carcass with the wolf in the foreground.

Image196 by William Reinke, on Flickr

By the way, the park is very crowded. If the tour buses were running it would be even worse, but lots of traffic. And with the bison rut going on the cars are constantly stopping on the road creating huge traffic jams.



RikWriter
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

Post by RikWriter »

Great sightings! I will be there in less than a month and I hope the wolves stay active.



karenandbill
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

Post by karenandbill »

RikWriter wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:07 am
Great sightings! I will be there in less than a month and I hope the wolves stay active.
Unless they move totally out of the area, you should have an excellent chance, especially with the Junction Buttes in Lamar. The Wapitis are less reliable now, with only a few brief sightings lately. Apparently, a group of five horseback riders went out one day and headed directly for the wolves. The white female led the pups away but a young black became isolated between the horses and the rest of the pack for a while. They haven't been seen nearly as much since. We had a brief sighting of 4 wolves at the south end of Hayden at dusk one evening a couple of weeks ago, but that's been it for us lately. We only go into Hayden once or twice a week, but when we do, we ask the regulars and that is what they have told us.



RikWriter
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

Post by RikWriter »

karenandbill wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:49 pm
RikWriter wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:07 am
Great sightings! I will be there in less than a month and I hope the wolves stay active.
Unless they move totally out of the area, you should have an excellent chance, especially with the Junction Buttes in Lamar. The Wapitis are less reliable now, with only a few brief sightings lately. Apparently, a group of five horseback riders went out one day and headed directly for the wolves. The white female led the pups away but a young black became isolated between the horses and the rest of the pack for a while. They haven't been seen nearly as much since. We had a brief sighting of 4 wolves at the south end of Hayden at dusk one evening a couple of weeks ago, but that's been it for us lately. We only go into Hayden once or twice a week, but when we do, we ask the regulars and that is what they have told us.

Were the horseback riders rangers?



karenandbill
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Summer update with Bears and Wolves August 6

Post by karenandbill »

RikWriter wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:01 am
Were the horseback riders rangers?
I didn't actually see this. It was told to me by a young lady who had been watching the wolves everyday for the previous two weeks. It didn't sound like it was rangers, but she did say that rangers were out there and aware of the activity.



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