Chasing Grizzlies in Yellowstone

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Four Days in Yellowstone, and expectations were high. Spring time is typically an excellent season to photograph and film wildlife, as many of the animals are beginning to venture out from their winter grounds, and explore new areas in pursuit of the blooming vegetation and green grasses.

The goal was to film grizzly bears, and there had been multiple bear sightings reported around the Yellowstone Lake and Fishing Bridge area, which was perfect because that’s where our camping reservations were made. Our first day of camping, was also the first day that Fishing Bridge’s campground was open, and it was relatively quiet as far as people who were camping was concerned.

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We explored the roads that took us to different areas of the park around Yellowstone Lake. We were specifically looking for grizzly and black bears, which quickly turned out to be a difficult task. If bison were bears, then we would have seen hundreds and hundreds of them, roaming the meadows, in the forests, and on the hills.. But they weren’t, and that’s mostly what we saw for the majority of the four days we were out. Herds of elk and bison, were abundantly stretched out across the surrounding areas of Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, the geyser areas, Yellowstone Lake, and Mammoth Hot Springs.

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Bear chasing can be both exciting, frustrating, and everything in between. We spent a lot of time searching for bears, and clocked hundreds of miles around the park in pursuit of these elusive animals. Our first day, we saw three grizzlies on a hillside about 3/4 of a mile off the road, and a boar (male grizzly) crossing the river at Fishing Bridge, which quickly disappeared into the trees. We were seeing them, but both encounters didn’t produce any photos or video. The second day we had six encounters with a couple of grizzlies that were moving in a hurry. Each time we spotted them, we only had a minute our two with our cameras on them, before the bears were too far away. We followed one bear for about five miles as it quickly walked from Yellowstone Lake, down the river, and into the Hayden Valley area.

Our third day, we ventured on a two hour drive to Lamar Valley, where we heard reports of a fresh bison carcass that had been spotted off the road. Other photographers that we had met, told us that the carcass was drawing in bears, wolves, and coyotes, and it was a good area to go if we wanted to increase our chances of spotting some bears. We spent almost the entire day in Lamar Valley, searching for these animals, but it was relatively quiet in respects to bear activity. Over the course of the day, we spotted a black bear, a wolf, a fox, and three grizzlies, and made it back to camp that night with the best footage that we captured over the whole weekend in Yellowstone. We didn’t come home with the quantity of footage we were hoping for, but we captured some great shots of some beautiful bears.

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