The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Grizzly Feast

Trip Start Sep 07, 2012
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Trip End Sep 16, 2012


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Where I stayed
Bakers Hole Campground

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Thursday, September 13, 2012

13SEP2012 The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Grizzly Feast

Hi there,
Today, was a GREAT day…. Maybe a FANTASTIC day…..   it started this a.m. with a low of 24* and we took our time to get out of the RV.  We wanted to stop and take some photos of some cat tails and found that the area around them was dry, and we think the photo will turn out great…

 Connie chose the route today… and she decided to head back to Canyon Village and hit their clearance rack for some stuff for the kids….   We got back to the store and found that they still had some of the items Connie was looking for and we picked them up…

 As we headed out we headed south and ran the truck around the rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone …  - 4 miles wide, 1200 – 1900 ft deep, and something like 15 miles long.   We made several stops, got some great photos and then stopped for lunch at one of the turn-outs and finished the large loop, ending back up at Canyon Village… 

 We headed back south again towards Fishing Bridge and about 6-7 miles out of Canyon Village we ran across a group of people looking out into a large open area and field…    sort of down a ravine and up the other side…  of course as any good tourist we had to stop and look..  We backed the truck into a space and got out…   temperature at that time was 60 – 62* based on the temperature gauge in the truck…  as we talked to those people there we found they were looking at a down Bison, and there we're 3 Grizzly Bears and 2 Wolves working on the carcass ….  We got out the 10 power binoculars and glazed the side of the hill and to be honest on the first quick view the black spots looked like large rocks in the center of the hill side, until one of them moved….   I unloaded the tri-pod and set up the spotting scope…   we purchased a 60 power Swarovski scope over a year ago and got it set up and focused…   we could see the bears working on the carcass and would roll it around…  they started on the ribs, and later in the day worked back to the hams…  it was great to watch them work through the pecking order and hold off the wolves… as they ate through the Bison they’d let one of the wolves come over and grab a bite or two…  I understand that a wolf can down 20 – 25 lbs of meat and head back to the Den/Pack and cough it back up to feed the pups and others…    it was a huge surprise to see the 2 wolves sometimes sitting, standing or lying only 4-10 ft from the kill and at that distance the bears ignored them…  at times they would move in… and either the bears would allow them to grab a bit or two or would chase them off….

 As we watched we saw one of the bears wander off… we assume it was full and the other two worked to fill their bellies up… and as needed fight off the wolves…  The range is such, we don’t know if we can run one of the photos thru the editor and crop it back and get a useable photo…  Connie is working on that now..  I’m guessing we shot 750 shots today… As the time passed we shared the scope with the others there and continued to shoot some photos..   As Connie works on the editor we’re hoping that the high pixel count cameras we use will give us some great photos…  as the afternoon progressed we saw a really large bear approach… at least 200 lbs larger than the 2 that remained…   it was as he was wandering by he could smell the kill and raced into the area…. Actually running across the mountain to get to the area….  As he got within 50 ft he circled the area and sized up the situation… after circling for a couple of times, he moved into the range of the other 2 bears…  we were too far away to hear him roar but looking through the scope we know as he walked up the other 2 bears decided to head to the hills and run off….   At the same time the wolves decided to move out at least 75-100 ft from the
kill…  remember that all the time the ravens and crows were jumping in and would grab a bit and jump off 25-40 ft and wait for another turn to jump in… there must have been 30-40 birds in and out looking for a piece of meat… The large bear worked as long as he wanted and later just wandered off…   leaving the remains to the wolves and birds…  

You will see several before and after photos in this slideshow . . . The first one is to show you how far away these animals were and the after photo is zoomed on the same shot and cropped.

 Later the wolves wandered off… we assume they were full and a couple of coyote’s showed up to work on the left-overs…  there is definitely a pecking order in the woods…

As we took apart our gear and stored it we decided we’d been there 3 or 4 hours and had one of the great shows in this park…  we’re now trying to decide to go back in the morning to see if the bears are back picking over the left over’s fueling up again… or if the wolves have come back and cleaned up the scene… 

Saw a Bald Eagle both yesterday and today when coming back to the campsite . . . was NOT able to get a picture as he had flown off by the time we stopped the truck. 


 So now we’re headed out of the park back to the RV and we come across 3 more coyote’s looking for rodents in the field…    one wondered over about 100 ft from the truck and we’ve got some great photos of that one.. the other 2 were out of camera range…   so in 2 days we’ve seen 6 coyote’s and in my opinion they are the healthiest we’ve ever seen…  great coats, no ribs showing…   just great looking animals…

Looking forward to another GREAT DAY tomorrow.  Safe Traveling, Jim & Connie
  
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