You could see the ear tag on the female bear! A park
interpreter said it was bear 793, nicknamed Blondie, along with her two
yearling cubs. They were feeding on the grass, along Pilgrim creek, and were a
nice safe distance, about one hundred yards, (which is the minimum safety
Our friends George and Val had arrived from Colorado and we
suggested we all take a break from setting up and go look for bears. Passing
through Jackson we decided to stop for sticky buns, before driving into the grand
Teton national Park. Right away Rents spotted a possible bear, but the traffic
was heavy, I was being tail gated, and so we had to drive to an intersection
before I could turn around.
By the time we got back the animal had disappeared and so we
continued our drive. A little further we stopped and glassed a line of willows,
where we had spotted a large male bear the previous year. There were elk and
buffalo around but no bear, and so we turned left at Moran Junction, and continued
north toward Pacific and Pilgrim Creeks.
We passed the Oxbow area and Willow Flats, where Val spotted
a moose, but we were looking for bears and so I didn’t turn around. Passing
Jackson Lake Lodge, we finally reached a traffic warning sign where motorists
were cautioned that mother bears and cubs were in the area.
Reaching Pilgrim Creek, we could see that a bear jam was
taking place and parking some ways away we hustled to the crowd only to learn
that a mother bear and her yearling cubs, had just moved into the trees and were
no longer visible. Starting to drive away Renita noticed that a new bear jam
had formed and so we parked before walking to the crowd, who were watching a black
bear feeding in a grassy meadow.
Walking back to the truck we saw a new jam was
staring to form and all were pointing the cameras and binoculars toward the
area where 793 had entered the woods.
Hurrying to the Pilgrim Creek Road, we joined the crown and
there was 793, a bear nicknamed Blondie feeding on grass with her two yearling
cubs! They were this year’s cubs, and all three bears seemed unconcerned with
the crowd of people.
As they fed, the
mother bear would occasionally talk to her cubs, as if she were telling them
that they were safe.
Every now and then, a cub and the mother would look up and
smell the air to make sure that all was fine. The mother was probably more
concerned with any male bears in the area as they will kill the cubs to bring
the sow into heat.
The highlight of the time was when one of the cubs sniffed an
electric pole before standing on its hind feet and using the pole to scratch
its back, (we all know what its like to have an itch that you can’t reach).
Deciding to move on we left the crowd and drove to Sergeant Bay Picnic area,
where bear 399 had been reported to have been spotted.
Undisturbed by any bears we had a nice lunch, and next drove
north to Leeks Marina and the Arizona Picnic area. Turning around we saw that
two cars had stopped and were taking photos. I was just able to pull in and
Renita and Val walked over to the cars where the people said that 399 and her
cubs had tried to cross the road.
Looking south I saw a bear rise from the ditch and yelled at
Renita to hurry back to the truck! Bear 399, one of the most photographed bears
of all time, and her two-year-old cubs were trying to cross the road. A bear
jam developed, and two foolish people popped up out of their sunroof to take images. Not only were they blocking the sow from her cub but the bear could have dragged them from their car, (Bears are faster than horses in a short charge and she became visibly upset).
behind them kept yelling at them to get back in their car but they didn’t seem
to pay any attention. Years ago, 399 had attacked other foolish people and the park
service had sided with the bear, leaving her alive.
There were no park rangers
present and the jam kept getting worse before the cub crossed back to its
mother and all three moved a little south.
The female really wanted to head towards Jackson lake and so
they made a third attempt, crossing the road and heading into the trees, (399
had lost a cub two years ago, when it had been struck by a hit and run motorist.
She had been seen dragging her dead cub into the thick trees).
The jam ended, and we drove south. We had spotted seven
bears, one black bear and six grizzlies. It was our best day ever and that
includes our trip to Alaska! We did look at Willow Flats and drove the Pacific
Creek road but didn’t see any sign of more bears.
Renita took a turn driving and we looked for moose and bear along
the Moose-Wilson Road. We never saw any, but we did see some colorful birds. A
yellow warbler, two gadwalls, two rufous hummingbirds, and a Barrows goldeneye,
ended our day!
The scariest part of the day wasn’t being so close to the
bears. It was watching the bears crossing the road, they made it safely, and
seeing how foolish people were to be out of their cars. If you ever see bears
stay at least one hundred yards away, and if they get closer, GET INSIDE YOUR
VEHICLE! Clear skies.
Ps Never feed wildlife! A fed bear is a dead bear as it will
no longer fear people and will eventually be destroyed.
pps Wyoming is going to hold a grizzly bear hunting season
this year and some idiots are bragging that they hope to kill bear 399, if she
leaves the park. She has produced thirty cubs and at age twenty one is the most
famous bear in the park Google her for more information.