Wednesday was another great day starting with the Beryl Spring sow sitting down and taking a scratch on a tree near Gibbon Meadow before heading up the hill. 11 black bears at various locations, one east of Pebble Creek on the north side of the road. Had never seen one in that location.
Saw two wolves in Little America. One was a black with something in its mouth heading into the trees. Another very uniquely marked brown/black wolf was interacting with an elk. Reports there were that a baby elk was down and likely dead, but Mom was still defending it from wolf and ravens. Don't know if it was still born or killed by the wolf. The wolf would move away for a while then come back. The Mom would then chase it away. Someone said this wolf (and likely the other one) was not one of the Junction Buttes but likely from the Mollies.
We hiked Trout Lake which is always beautiful, but saw only ducks and warblers. Did see a pair of mountain goats on the mountain on the other side of the road as we were coming down.
Back through Lamar we pulled over to see the same wolf and coyote from yesterday at it again, but this time on the road side of the river and very visible. The coyote was really persistant and perstering to the wolf, occasionally nibbling at its tail, but mostly trailing it 5-10 feet behind. Ocassionally the wolf would turn and the coyote would run away only to return when the wolf turned around and started moving. This went on for probably 20-30 minutes before they both disappeared into a gully.
The Madison River carcass had obviously been eaten on but we only saw a bald eagle.
Thursday, we decided to head back to Colorado to avoid the holiday crowds. We will return in a couple weeks. Drove out past Old faithful and the south entrance into the Tetons. Saw a lone swan in the River close to Midway Geyser Basin, but that was about it ecxept for the usual bison/elk. Driving out of the Tetons there was a few cars watching an elk with a dead calf on the hillside near Pacific Creek. As we drove out of the park and up toward Togwotee we saw the sign warning of bears on the road. Sure enough just around the bend cars were pulled over and photographers were snapping away at a griz with coy down the hill. The coy was very uniquely marked with a white ring that went all the around its collar. She kept working her way closer to the embankment when several of us mentioned that we needed to back away to give her more space. Surprisingly enough the crowd did back away and the sow proceded to lay down and nurse the cub. One woman did start moving in close when I politely told her she was getting to close to a Mama bear. She didn't like it but did move away. Great way to end the trip.
I couldn't help thinking that if the hunt had been allowed to go on last fall, this sow theorctically could have been "harvested". That would have deprived probably hundreds of people from enjoying this experience.
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