Monday, May 21, 2018

Our Best Day Yet with the Bears of Grand Teton National Park, 793, 399, and a Black Bear in a Meadow

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 margin).
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).
A person 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.

1 comment:

  1. Great pics of the wonderful bears and the stupid people. Remember if a bear attacks you only had to outrun one person.