Grizzlies of the GYE

scatman

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Since I've been stuck in my house for the past month, I started thinking about all of my grizzly bear encounters over the years while driving, hiking or backpacking in the GYE.

I was twenty five when I first started to backpack. My parents weren't all that big on the outdoors, so I came by it kind of slowly over time. I graduated from college way back in 1987, and began working for USDA when I was 23.

My first trip to Yellowstone was the year I graduated from Utah State. I drove one of my friends home to Puyallup, Washington, located just outside of Seattle, and on my return trip from her house, I came down through Mammoth, then on to Old Faithful and out the Southern Entrance of the Park. I stopped along the way and did the touristy thing, stopping at the major thermal attractions and some roadside waterfalls. As I made my way south through the Park, I also saw four moose (the most I've ever seen while there), many bison, and some elk, but unfortunately no bears. :(

I then returned in 1989, a year after the major fires, with a friend to see a burnt landscape. Again, though we did stay at a campground, this was a tourist trip, and I got to see the Upper and Lower Falls on the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley. the Lake Hotel and such. Again, I was lucky enough to see two more moose, herds of bison in Hayden and elk near Grant Village, but alas, no bears. :cry:

Well, by 1990, I thought I'd accumulated most everything I'd need to plan a backpacking trip to Yellowstone, but I didn't actually make it up there to backpack until the summer of 1991. I did a trip into the Bob Marshall, and the Chinese Wall in 1990. So since 1991, I have returned every year, sometimes multiple times to backpack in Yellowstone or the broader GYE. I usually try to take my family on one trip a year, and the rest are with friends, or people who are crazy enough to want to hang out with me for a multi-day backpacking trip in bear country.

Well, it wasn't until 1998 that I saw my first grizzly bear in the backcountry. A friend of mine, and myself did a two week trip that came down the eastern shore of Yellowstone Lake, south into the Thorofare, and out along the Snake River and the South Boundary Trail to the South Entrance of the Park. On our last night in the backcountry, at campsite 8C1, while eating our dinner, we noticed something moving across the slope on the north side of the Snake River. As it got close enough to make out what it was, we realized it was a grizzly! Yippee!

I'd grown accustomed to not seeing any bears while in the Park over the previous 8 years, so my nights were pretty peaceful, but the night after seeing the bear, my mind raced when I was awake. Is it coming to check us out? Is our camp clean enough? What is that noise? Will Matt (my friend) wake up in time to save me from being pulled out of my sleeping bag by the bruin? Should I pretend to be snoring to let it know that we are here? You know how the mind works when you are unsure of things. :eek:

Well, I've learned a lot since that night back in 1998, and I can say honestly that I sleep pretty well now, even if I've seen a bear that day, or even if we've had one visit us at, or close to our campsite. As I've gotten older, a good nights sleep is more important to me than worrying about what is going on outside my tent, particularly if I have to get up and backpack the next day.

So I went eight years without seeing a grizzly (black bear too for that matter) while backpacking in the GYE. And I don't recall seeing more than one set of bear track in that time period either. Now it is true, that as I got older and more experienced, I tended to had into better grizzly bear habitat, so the chances of seeing a bear probably increased, but I do think the population of bears has increased over that timeframe also. When I plan A trip now, I almost expect to see a grizzly and am disappointed if I don't. :(

So a I head off this summer for my 30th year of backpacking in Yellowstone, or someplace nearby the Park, here are my numbers for grizzly encounters in the GYE over the past 29 years.

I've had a total of 27 encounters that included 33 grizzly bears, four of which were sows with cubs.

By Place:

Yellowstone National Park - 27
Grand Teton National Park - 2
The Teton Wilderness - 4
Washakie Wilderness - 0
The Gros Ventre Wilderness - 0

Where:

Roadside - 5
Backcountry - 28

Backcountry Breakdown:

Day Hikes - 5
Backpacking Trips - 23


Here is a shot from back in 2008 of a grizzly that I came upon while day hiking along the Howard Eaton Trail near Spring Creek, before heading off on a canoe trip on Yellowstone Lake. I was using a Canon Powershot SD700 IS.

04b.jpg

lucky to have my camera ready
05.jpg

Zoomed in as it passed by me.

06.jpg

Not a very good picture, but it is heading up the slope from the creek and away from me.

Of course, if the bear is in the distance, you might have time to get your camera ready and get some pictures, but if the bear is relatively close, you really need to be lucky enough to have the camera in hand and ready to shoot. You have a lot of things to think about in a very short time interval, particularly getting your bear spray into position if the bear decides to charge, and remaining relatively calm to keep your wits about you. Easier said than done.

I've also seen two grizzlies in Glacier - one was a roadside bear.
And I've seen one crossing the road up near Yaak, Montana.

Next up, I'll have to think of my encounters with black bears, which is far less than grizzlies.

Over and out. :scatman:
 
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Jackson

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Loved reading this. Happy to have been there for one of the many, and my first backcountry one! May you have many more safe encounters.

I think my small count goes like this:

By Place:

Yellowstone National Park - 4
The Teton Wilderness - 1
Gallatin NF - 1

Where:

Roadside - 5
Backcountry - 1

Backcountry Breakdown:

Day Hikes - 0
Backpacking Trips - 1

And then I've seen one black bear ever, also in Gallatin NF from the road, over near Beaver Creek.

Well, I've learned a lot since that night back in 1998, and I can say honestly that I sleep pretty well now, even if I've seen a bear that day, or even if we've had one visit us at, or close to our campsite. As I've gotten older, a good nights sleep is more important to me than worrying about what is going on outside my tent, particularly if I have to get up and backpack the next day.
And I can't wait until I've been out enough times to feel that way. Haha. Every significant unknown sound still sets my heart racing, even after having been doing this for 6 years. Maybe in 6 more years...

Edit: saw a black bear and her cub in June 2021!
 
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swmalone

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My count is easy, big fat ZERO. That is for any bears. When I was in high school my family went camping at Sage Hen lake in Idaho and had a black bear show up in the campsite and tear into our coolers. My brother and I were in a tent of our own and slept right though it. The next night some guy at another campsite woke up everyone just shooting randomly at it from inside of his tent. That guy ended up being escorted away by armed rangers the next morning.

The bear ended up having to be relocated due to getting used to associating the campsites with easy food.
 

Nick

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Wow!

I've got three grizzly encounters but only one in the GYE. One I almost hit with my car in Yellostone early in the morning and two deep in the backcountry of British Columbia on the Tatshenshini River, including this guy that we watched cross a half-mile wide river to our campsite late one night. (screen grab from an awesome video that @Dave filmed)

1614367140481.png


1614367242463.png
 

Bob

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Nice summary....

Lol.... I've lost track on how many bears and wolves I've seen in GYE visiting and backpacking.... Been around there since the late 1970s. Now in my yard it's 4 bears, no wolves seen ...just tracks on the road.
 

TractorDoc

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Here is mine from 2019.

I was not quick enough and did not have a zoomy enough lens to catch the sighting from last year. ;)

5J5A2042A.JPG


Funnyish Bear story for anyone interested.
I had planned a trip to Yellowstone with the Mrs. about five years ago but our plans were changed (back in 2016 I think due to the Berry Fire). Instead we took a trip later in the year that incorporated a couple days in Sequoia NP and Yosemite NP. Now the Mrs. is not as outdoorsy as I try to be, but she is supportive and was willing to do some hiking but was very worried about bears. I told her that an encounter was very unlikely as we'd be sticking to more heavily visited areas and Black Bears were less scary than Grizzlies (so says my mind).

So we park at the Sequoia NP Lodgepole visitor center and decide to hike thru the Giant Forest to the General Sherman Tree (going from memory, forgive any misnamings). It is mid morning and we off and on shared the trail with one other couple that were walking with slip on sandals and a single bottle of Evian between the two of them (to give you an idea of the difficulty level). Soon the Mrs. became captivated by the size and majesty of the Giant Trees and any worry of bears faded away. The other couple disappeared on the trail ahead of us while we admired and took pictures of the trees. We started walking again and the Mrs. even headed up the trail with confidence while I was using the video feature on the camera to do a panorama of the surroundings. As I pivoted back to the trail I see the Mrs. walking back towards me with a worried look on her face and all she could say was "Bears! Bears!" (That video became an instant classic! :p ). Anyway, sure enough a mother black bear and two cubs was on the trail ahead of us and heading our way. She told me at first she thought they were rocks. . . but then they started moving.


Of all my previous years hiking trails and in the backcountry this was my first time encountering bears on the trail. We made out way off the trail and down to the road to walk the rest of the way towards General Sherman. Later in the day we actually encountered the other couple that had passed us and asked if they had seen the bears as they were only a few minutes ahead of us. They had not and probably thought we were making the story up.

To this day the Mrs. does not believe that I don't see bears every time I go hiking. . . I think that she may think I was trying to feed her to them! It is also one of the first things she brings up when I propose a new place to travel. . . "Will there be bears?" :)

Edit/add on: As far as other bear sightings -- I drove the Alaska Highway back in 2000 or so and remember seeing a number of them from the road as well as when I spent some time in Wrangel-St. Elias Natl. Park. Several from the trail in Glacier NP. Several other sightings have occurred over the last couple years in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton from pullouts in Lamar Valley and Oxbow Bend, respectively.
 
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Kmatjhwy

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Love this thread! Thanks Scatman for posting. Loved reading it. And thanks Jackson and TractorDoc for posting your stories and bear sightings and such.

Gosh, where do I begin. I have been hiking here in the Rocky Mountain West and elsewhere since 1978. And I have kept a journal of my adventures since I began. Some years ago I put together a Bear Journal where I post all my Bear sightings since I started hiking. My first year in my hiking was a lone Grizzly Bear near Mammoth briefly in early June in 1981. In 1982 I saw 4 Grizzlies in the Yellowstone backcountry. Thru the years I have also had numerous close encounters and some very close encounters to both Grizzlies and Black Bears. But I have never been harmed and am in still one piece. Most of my sightings have been in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In my hiking there have been times when I have seen near a dozen bears in and around Yount's Peak in one day. Back on July 16th, 2006, I was bluff charged by a small sow Grizzly with one cub of the year high up on the Absaroka Crest and right on the boundary of what is between the Teton Wilderness and the Washakie Wilderness. Now with this encounter, the sow Grizzly came at me three times down to like 5 to 8 feet from me, then retreated. I was screaming bloody murder but survived intact. In other occasions have had a close encounter to a Grizzly, just a few feet from me, like 50 to 75 feet away, and we just looked each other in the eye. On those occasions, I always sensed Soooo much intelligence.

Now in my Bear Journal, I have recorded 270 sightings of Bears, with a predominance of them being Grizzlies. I have also had near 6 times when I heard a Bear - Grizzly close to me but did not see the bear. Of these encounters I saw 6 Bears (5 Grizzlies and 1Black Bear) in Glacier NP in 1983. Then from 2013 to 2017 I have seen 55 Bears, predominance being Grizzlies/ Brown Bears, in Alaska. Most of these sightings were in Denali NP. Also in Denali NP, there were times when I saw a dozen Grizzlies in oneday.

Now don't have the breakdown of where these sightings occurred, but this is a breakdown by years and my Grizzly and Black Bear sightings.

1981 to 1985 = 11 GB, 2 BB
1986 to 1988 = 10 GB, 11 BB
1993 to 1997 = 7 GB, 3 BB
Year 2000 = 62 GB, 21 BB
Year 2001 = 46 GB, 7 BB
Year 2002 = 23 GB, 12 BB
2003 & 2004 = 20 GB, 2 BB
Year 2005 = 31 GB, 9 BB
2006 & 2007 = 38 GB, 3 BB
2008 to 2012 = 37 GB, 9 BB
2013 = 42 GB, 3 BB
2014 to 2017 = 27 GB, 5 BB

Now Also have had a multiple of Wolf Sightings but don't know the number. Twice I have stumbled upon a wolf den with pups in the den. Never have been threatened by a wolf.

Now in this modern day and age, I have come to trust Grizzlies and Wolves more then people for they have common sense and they have never stabbed me in the back. They are good wilderness teachers. If we give them their space, they will give us our space. Many a time they have given me respect by staying out of my camps. Do think
that many a bear has as much desire to stay away from us as we want to stay a safe distance from them. But to watch a Grizzly go about it's daily routine in the wilds is a magnificent sight. Am grateful to the Creator for all of these bear and wolf sightings ... blessings that the Creator has given. Wishing Everyone the Best!
 
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Jackson

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Love this thread! Thanks Scatman for posting. Loved reading it. And thanks Jackson and TractorDoc for posting your stories and bear sightings and such.

Gosh, where do I begin. I have been hiking here in the Rocky Mountain West and elsewhere since 1978. And I have kept a journal of my adventures since I began. Some years ago I put together a Bear Journal where I post all my Bear sightings since I started hiking. My first year in my hiking was a lone Grizzly Bear near Mammoth briefly in early June in 1981. In 1982 I saw 4 Grizzlies in the Yellowstone backcountry. Thru the years I have also had numerous close encounters and some very close encounters to both Grizzlies and Black Bears. But I have never been harmed and am in still one piece. Most of my sightings have been in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In my hiking there have been times when I have seen near a dozen bears in and around Yount's Peak in one day. Back on July 16th, 2006, I was bluff charged by a small sow Grizzly with one cub of the year high up on the Absaroka Crest and right on the boundary of what is between the Teton Wilderness and the Washakie Wilderness. Now with this encounter, the sow Grizzly came at me three times down to like 5 to 8 feet from me, then retreated. I was screaming bloody murder but survived intact. In other occasions have had a close encounter to a Grizzly, just a few feet from me, like 50 to 75 feet away, and we just looked each other in the eye. On those occasions, I always sensed Soooo much intelligence.

Now in my Bear Journal, I have recorded 270 sightings of Bears, with a predominance of them being Grizzlies. I have also had near 6 times when I heard a Bear - Grizzly close to me but did not see the bear. Of these encounters I saw 6 Bears (5 Grizzlies and 1Black Bear) in Glacier NP in 1983. Then from 2013 to 2017 I have seen 55 Bears, predominance being Grizzlies/ Brown Bears, in Alaska. Most of these sightings were in Denali NP. Also in Denali NP, there were times when I saw a dozen Grizzlies in oneday.

Now don't have the breakdown of where these sightings occurred, but this is a breakdown by years and my Grizzly and Black Bear sightings.

1981 to 1985 = 11 GB, 2 BB
1986 to 1988 = 10 GB, 11 BB
1993 to 1997 = 7 GB, 3 BB
Year 2000 = 62 GB, 21 BB
Year 2001 = 46 GB, 7 BB
Year 2002 = 23 GB, 12 BB
2003 & 2004 = 20 GB, 2 BB
Year 2005 = 31 GB, 9 BB
2006 & 2007 = 38 GB, 3 BB
2008 to 2012 = 37 GB, 9 BB
2013 = 42 GB, 3 BB
2014 to 2017 = 27 GB, 5 BB

Now Also have had a multiple of Wolf Sightings but don't know the number. Twice I have stumbled upon a wolf den with pups in the den. Never have been threatened by a wolf.

Now in this modern day and age, I have come to trust Grizzlies and Wolves more then people for they have common sense and they have never stabbed me in the back. They are good wilderness teachers. If we give them their space, they will give us our space. Many a time they have given me respect by staying out of my camps. Do think
that many a bear has as much desire to stay away from us as we want to stay a safe distance from them. But to watch a Grizzly go about it's daily routine in the wilds is a magnificent sight. Am grateful to the Creator for all of these bear and wolf sightings ... blessings that the Creator has given. Wishing Everyone the Best!
Wow! The year 2000 was a heck of a year for you for bear sightings. Incredible!!
 

scatman

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Loved reading this. Happy to have been there for one of the many, and my first backcountry one! May you have many more safe encounters.

I think my small count goes like this:

By Place:

Yellowstone National Park - 4
The Teton Wilderness - 1
Gallatin NF - 1

Where:

Roadside - 5
Backcountry - 1

Backcountry Breakdown:

Day Hikes - 0
Backpacking Trips - 1

And then I've seen one black bear ever, also in Gallatin NF from the road, over near Beaver Creek.


And I can't wait until I've been out enough times to feel that way. Haha. Every significant unknown sound still sets my heart racing, even after having been doing this for 6 years. Maybe in 6 more years...

Yes, that was a good sighting we had up above Whetstone Creek. It was just far enough away that it didn't notice us right off the bat, and we were able to observe it for a couple minutes before it sniffed us out, and then headed on up the hill. It's always cool when they stand to see if they can get a better look, or figure out what/where you are.

Are you heading down Bechler way in October? If not, you're welcome to head up Pacific Creek, and this time reach Moss Lake with us. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

05.jpg
 

scatman

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My count is easy, big fat ZERO. That is for any bears. When I was in high school my family went camping at Sage Hen lake in Idaho and had a black bear show up in the campsite and tear into our coolers. My brother and I were in a tent of our own and slept right though it. The next night some guy at another campsite woke up everyone just shooting randomly at it from inside of his tent. That guy ended up being escorted away by armed rangers the next morning.

The bear ended up having to be relocated due to getting used to associating the campsites with easy food.

Sounds like you need to join a Scatman Trip. :D
 

scatman

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Wow!

I've got three grizzly encounters but only one in the GYE. One I almost hit with my car in Yellostone early in the morning and two deep in the backcountry of British Columbia on the Tatshenshini River, including this guy that we watched cross a half-mile wide river to our campsite late one night. (screen grab from an awesome video that @Dave filmed)

View attachment 96505

View attachment 96506

Nice one! Looks like a decent sized bear. So what did you guys do when he reached your camp?
 

scatman

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Here is mine from 2019.

I was not quick enough and did not have a zoomy enough lens to catch the sighting from last year. ;)

View attachment 96509

Funnyish Bear story for anyone interested.
I had planned a trip to Yellowstone with the Mrs. about five years ago but our plans were changed (back in 2016 I think due to the Berry Fire). Instead we took a trip later in the year that incorporated a couple days in Sequoia NP and Yosemite NP. Now the Mrs. is not as outdoorsy as I try to be, but she is supportive and was willing to do some hiking but was very worried about bears. I told her that an encounter was very unlikely as we'd be sticking to more heavily visited areas and Black Bears were less scary than Grizzlies (so says my mind).

So we park at the Sequoia NP Lodgepole visitor center and decide to hike thru the Giant Forest to the General Sherman Tree (going from memory, forgive any misnamings). It is mid morning and we off and on shared the trail with one other couple that were walking with slip on sandals and a single bottle of Evian between the two of them (to give you an idea of the difficulty level). Soon the Mrs. became captivated by the size and majesty of the Giant Trees and any worry of bears faded away. The other couple disappeared on the trail ahead of us while we admired and took pictures of the trees. We started walking again and the Mrs. even headed up the trail with confidence while I was using the video feature on the camera to do a panorama of the surroundings. As I pivoted back to the trail I see the Mrs. walking back towards me with a worried look on her face and all she could say was "Bears! Bears!" (That video became an instant classic! :p ). Anyway, sure enough a mother black bear and two cubs was on the trail ahead of us and heading our way. She told me at first she thought they were rocks. . . but then they started moving.


Of all my previous years hiking trails and in the backcountry this was my first time encountering bears on the trail. We made out way off the trail and down to the road to walk the rest of the way towards General Sherman. Later in the day we actually encountered the other couple that had passed us and asked if they had seen the bears as they were only a few minutes ahead of us. They had not and probably thought we were making the story up.

To this day the Mrs. does not believe that I don't see bears every time I go hiking. . . I think that she may think I was trying to feed her to them! It is also one of the first things she brings up when I propose a new place to travel. . . "Will there be bears?" :)

Edit/add on: As far as other bear sightings -- I drove the Alaska Highway back in 2000 or so and remember seeing a number of them from the road as well as when I spent some time in Wrangel-St. Elias Natl. Park. Several from the trail in Glacier NP. Several other sightings have occurred over the last couple years in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton from pullouts in Lamar Valley and Oxbow Bend, respectively.

Hey, is that shot taken from somewhere near Rustic Geyser? Holdin' out on me huh! :lol:

Nice shot, and I enjoyed your story. Need to get the Mrs. into the Yellowstone backcountry for a short trip. Tell her Scatman guarantees her safety. :thinking:

I'll also need you to take a shot of the cache, once the grizzly buries me at Aster Lake. And make sure you use the Scatman emoji when you post the shot here on BCP. :) It will make a fitting remembrance.
 

scatman

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Love this thread! Thanks Scatman for posting. Loved reading it. And thanks Jackson and TractorDoc for posting your stories and bear sightings and such.

Gosh, where do I begin. I have been hiking here in the Rocky Mountain West and elsewhere since 1978. And I have kept a journal of my adventures since I began. Some years ago I put together a Bear Journal where I post all my Bear sightings since I started hiking. My first year in my hiking was a lone Grizzly Bear near Mammoth briefly in early June in 1981. In 1982 I saw 4 Grizzlies in the Yellowstone backcountry. Thru the years I have also had numerous close encounters and some very close encounters to both Grizzlies and Black Bears. But I have never been harmed and am in still one piece. Most of my sightings have been in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In my hiking there have been times when I have seen near a dozen bears in and around Yount's Peak in one day. Back on July 16th, 2006, I was bluff charged by a small sow Grizzly with one cub of the year high up on the Absaroka Crest and right on the boundary of what is between the Teton Wilderness and the Washakie Wilderness. Now with this encounter, the sow Grizzly came at me three times down to like 5 to 8 feet from me, then retreated. I was screaming bloody murder but survived intact. In other occasions have had a close encounter to a Grizzly, just a few feet from me, like 50 to 75 feet away, and we just looked each other in the eye. On those occasions, I always sensed Soooo much intelligence.

Now in my Bear Journal, I have recorded 270 sightings of Bears, with a predominance of them being Grizzlies. I have also had near 6 times when I heard a Bear - Grizzly close to me but did not see the bear. Of these encounters I saw 6 Bears (5 Grizzlies and 1Black Bear) in Glacier NP in 1983. Then from 2013 to 2017 I have seen 55 Bears, predominance being Grizzlies/ Brown Bears, in Alaska. Most of these sightings were in Denali NP. Also in Denali NP, there were times when I saw a dozen Grizzlies in oneday.

Now don't have the breakdown of where these sightings occurred, but this is a breakdown by years and my Grizzly and Black Bear sightings.

1981 to 1985 = 11 GB, 2 BB
1986 to 1988 = 10 GB, 11 BB
1993 to 1997 = 7 GB, 3 BB
Year 2000 = 62 GB, 21 BB
Year 2001 = 46 GB, 7 BB
Year 2002 = 23 GB, 12 BB
2003 & 2004 = 20 GB, 2 BB
Year 2005 = 31 GB, 9 BB
2006 & 2007 = 38 GB, 3 BB
2008 to 2012 = 37 GB, 9 BB
2013 = 42 GB, 3 BB
2014 to 2017 = 27 GB, 5 BB

Now Also have had a multiple of Wolf Sightings but don't know the number. Twice I have stumbled upon a wolf den with pups in the den. Never have been threatened by a wolf.

Now in this modern day and age, I have come to trust Grizzlies and Wolves more then people for they have common sense and they have never stabbed me in the back. They are good wilderness teachers. If we give them their space, they will give us our space. Many a time they have given me respect by staying out of my camps. Do think
that many a bear has as much desire to stay away from us as we want to stay a safe distance from them. But to watch a Grizzly go about it's daily routine in the wilds is a magnificent sight. Am grateful to the Creator for all of these bear and wolf sightings ... blessings that the Creator has given. Wishing Everyone the Best!

Well, I don't even know where to start on this one. If your bear journal could only talk, the stories it would tell. :)

If my arithmetic is right, that is 354 grizzly bear sightings in the GYE. So in forty years, you've averaged seeing almost nine grizzlies a year. Most impressive. In those early years between 1981 through 1997, did you ever go a year without seeing one (grizzly)?

I also noticed that you're not seeing as many black bears as grizzlies every year, which is the case for me too. Do you think there are less black bears in the GYE than grizzlies? Or is there some other factors at play? If I had to guess off the top of my head, I'd say that I've seen ten over the years.

Anyway, I've always enjoy reading your stories over the years, and I hope that you'll pop back in here occasionally between your time in the wilderness after you retire, and keep us updated on your travels through the Thorofare region, or any other wild spots where you might find yourself in the future.
 

scatman

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Nice summary....

Lol.... I've lost track on how many bears and wolves I've seen in GYE visiting and backpacking.... Been around there since the late 1970s. Now in my yard it's 4 bears, no wolves seen ...just tracks on the road.

Well @Bob, we will need to get you an encounter that will be more memorable. :D I'll bring the bacon grease this summer. ;)
 

scatman

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in all my roughly 500 miles in the GYE backcountry I've never seen a bear
I've only seen a bear twice in Yellowstone going from one hike to the next and it was near the road

I'm a little surprised that you've hiked that many miles with no success in the backcountry; you'll just need to break down and go on one of our trips one of these years. :thumbsup: :)
 

Nick

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Nice one! Looks like a decent sized bear. So what did you guys do when he reached your camp?

We went to sleep! :lol:

But seriously, we watched him work that river towards us for upwards of an hour I think. We had just cooked hamburgers and a dutch oven cake for my 40th bday. The river was about a half mile wide in that spot so he would get in the water, get washed downstream, then climb out and keep working his way back up. The last swift section before camp was big, and we thought he got totally swept away but sure enough, he made it back out and appeared on an island just downstream from us. On his second try he went all the way to the upstream tip of it and made the final swim to our side. By that point it was almost 11pm but still pretty light out since we were so far north. We waited for a while to see if he'd walk into our camp, but we never saw him again. Eventually we all just went to our tents.

In the morning, we loaded up the boats and shoved off. Right in that same spot where the big bear made it across, we found a juvenile grizzly swimming in an eddy in the river. He was scared to see us and immediately got out and ran into the brush.

Hopefully @Dave doesn't mind me sharing, but here is the full video clip that he shared with me from that.

 

Bob

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Well @Bob, we will need to get you an encounter that will be more memorable. :D I'll bring the bacon grease this summer. ;)
Plenty of close griz viewing....
 

JBPHXAZ

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Messages
28
Thanks for starting this off @scatman , and loved the input from everyone else. I've never backpacked in grizzly country (except for an overnight this last year in the Bitterroots which I'm sure some would say is grizzly territory and some would say its not). I have visited Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Tetons but never had an encounter. But did see 4 black bears in Yellowstone last year while driving and have seen another 6-7 black bears in AZ.
All in all, not too exciting compared to your stories, so I will hope for more "excitement" in the future and will live vicariously through these great stories!
Thanks, John
 

wsp_scott

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Never seen a grizzly (hopefully this summer in Grand Teton or Yellowstone), but I've seen lots (20 or 30) of black bears in the southeast in the last couple years. The best and most scariest was this past summer with my kids in Big South Fork. My 9 year old son was in front as we were hiking in the morning and he all of a sudden said "Bear". I did not see anything until I came around a large hemlock and there was a young black bear about 10 - 15 feet from me and my son. It was just looking at us as I got the kids behind me and we made some noise and he ambled up the hill. That would have been my best bear photo, but it never occurred to me to reach for my camera :)

My best bear photo is from the car on the road in Banff a couple years ago


 

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