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How Cute is This?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My wife and I spent a couple of days up in Yellowstone Park early this week.

The elk, bison, deer, and antelope herds start calving this time of year and that brings out the big predators, wolves and bears.

So, speaking of calves, this mama bison and minutes-old calf walked right next to our car in the Madison Valley:



And here's what mom and baby looked like from a few feet away:



And here's what a mama and baby look like from a wolf's-eye view in the Lamar Valley:



Shortly after I took that photo, a pack of wolves started walking out of the forest in the background of this photo. In all, nine wolves appeared and started walking along that bench across the river from where these bison are standing.

While we watched, they spread out near three big bull elk and we thought that a chase might ensue. The elk nervously watched them, they watched the elk, and nothing happened for a few minutes. Here's what it looked like through the maximum telephoto my camera is capable of. It's not much of a photo but you can kind of tell how close the wolves were to the elk. Double-clicking on the image will probably help make it easier to view:



After a brief standoff, the wolves continued on. A few minutes later, one of them started digging furiously in the ground. The others watched for a couple of minutes and then laid down. We could see plumes of dust and dirt where this wolf was digging and before long the wolf had dug him(her?)self completely out of view, but we could still see dirt flying out of the hole. Then all the wolves jumped up, congregating around the hole, and the digger bounded out carrying some kind of critter that we couldn't identify. Life and death in the Lamar Valley.

My wife had never seen a grizzly bear before, but we were lucky there too. We saw a lone grizzly male and a sow with two cubs, all of which were great for viewing with a spotting scope and binoculars but a little too far away for much in the way of photos.

Our time was cut short by a family thing, so we were only able to spend the one evening there. We had such a great experience, however, and the Park is so beautiful this time of year that we'll definitely go back.
post #2 of 17
cool pictures and write up Bob!!
post #3 of 17
Despite the prostests of the "locals" the wolf re-introduction project into Yellowstone is one of the best things that has ever happened to the park. It's has been a wonderful experiment in ecosystem biology. The wolves have changed the entire ecosystem there. From the habits of the large prey items, to the raparian habitat, it has been amazing. When they were undertaking this project, who would have guess that wolves would have been good for fish?

L
post #4 of 17
Has there been a Marlin Perkins sighting?

No, just our own Bob, mixing it up with the critters at Yellowstone again
post #5 of 17
Great pics! Fun to see bison calf still wet.

We were driving through Lamar very early one summer morning (i.e., first cup of coffee still hot), and came upon an elevated hill by roadside covered with folks with spotting scopes and binocs. They had a large pack of wolves across the road... on a bench area very much like your last two pics, backing to woods. There was even a similar standoff with elk, with similar outcome... wolves gave up and went back to hunting mice or whatever! Our pics aren't nearly as good as yours... just dots on a page.

Even if unintended, also glad to see the subliminal safety tip of close-up pics taken next to CAR. More than once I've seen moms maneuvering their kids next to bison, as if the big furry thing is posing for them. Also saw one guy edging up within few feet of a bull moose chewing his cud. I keep waiting for one of these half-ton beasts to get annoyed and stomp some camera-toting humans? :
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKN View Post
Great pics! Fun to see bison calf still wet.

We were driving through Lamar very early one summer morning (i.e., first cup of coffee still hot), and came upon an elevated hill by roadside covered with folks with spotting scopes and binocs. They had a large pack of wolves across the road... on a bench area very much like your last two pics, backing to woods. There was even a similar standoff with elk, with similar outcome... wolves gave up and went back to hunting mice or whatever! Our pics aren't nearly as good as yours... just dots on a page.

Even if unintended, also glad to see the subliminal safety tip of close-up pics taken next to CAR. More than once I've seen moms maneuvering their kids next to bison, as if the big furry thing is posing for them. Also saw one guy edging up within few feet of a bull moose chewing his cud. I keep waiting for one of these half-ton beasts to get annoyed and stomp some camera-toting humans? :
It's interesting you mention the whole don't-approach-the-animals thing.

Most of the people who come to the park this time of year seem to understand the concept that these are wild animals. Later in the year, as the tourist numbers skyrocket, that's no longer the case. If I'm not mistaken, more people are killed and injured in Yellowstone Park by bison than ever have been by grizzly bears.

These are wild animals that might weigh up to half a ton, and these wild animals might be EXTREMELY protective of those little babies next to them. The only reason I got those shots of the brand new baby is that we came around a bend on the highway and they were walking right toward us. I stopped the car, turned on the flashers, and waited for them to walk by. I could easily have reached out and touched mama's back as she passed by the car (I didn't ).

Getting near any of those critters on purpose is 'jes plain stoopid.
post #7 of 17
GREAT pics of the buffalo calf.

Regarding the wild nature of bison, I've always loved the subtle message of this official Yellowstone warning sign:

post #8 of 17
I saw a moose work over a tourist one time, I think the T was trying to get some sort of reaction from the moose and he did. It wasn't pretty.
post #9 of 17
Ahhh.....the cycle of life begins again in the nation's largest zoo. Nice pics, Bob. Bison have indeed killed more tourists than griz. My fav thing is when a large group decides to go for a jaunt the ground literally shakes.

Looks like the wolves have thrived since reintroduction and are taking their rightful place in the food chain of the park. I would rather see a bison taken down by a wolf than shot like parked cars by the state of Montana.
post #10 of 17
[Phil ducking in the kitchen with a marsala sauce waiting] What is the Bison version of veal? [/Phil ducking in the kitchen with a marsala sauce waiting]
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
[Phil ducking in the kitchen with a marsala sauce waiting] What is the Bison version of veal? [/Phil ducking in the kitchen with a marsala sauce waiting]
Bob's Calf
post #12 of 17
Bob,

Barb loved the pictures of the calf.
post #13 of 17
Luckily for Bison calves they are not treated like Cow calves destined to become veal.

As more Bison is raised on a ranch setting for steaks and burger it is appearing on menu's across the country. Personally I think it's very dry, not a winner for me.
post #14 of 17
a few years ago I was poking around the back roads of YNP in the spring, looking for a place to kick and glide. I noticed something moving in the brush, so I stopped the van, and quietly got out with my camera. The rustling bush produced a wobbley-legged, wet moose calf who thought I might be interesting enough to approach. Another, bigger bush immediately produced a mama moose who, through a series of footrstamping and snorts, made it clear that I had better not point anything at her baby, and might be better off back in the van.

I was glad to be able to take her advice!
post #15 of 17
Beautiful shots. Great time of year. Beware the moose! Tame they're not... had three living in the ravine next door, hardly ever saw them, once they came up the driveway... Biggest problem here is killer highways. I counted four dead deer and one dead moose on an 18 mile stretch of Hwy 40 between Park City and Heber last week. I lost my Subaru to a deer a couple years back on interstate 80. Carnage!
Yellowstone is a unique preserve- I wish the rest of the west could figure out how to co-exist with the natives better.
post #16 of 17
Great pictures, Bob. Yellowstone is one of my favorite places on earth. My wife and I usually plan a fall trip there each year so we can hike in peace.

That being said, a Ranger told me that the NPS did a study and 97% of the visitors to Yellowstone never get more than 200 yards from their car. What a bunch of lard butts! Perhaps it is the time of year, or perhaps it is just that no one ventures off the asphalt, but we routinely hike and see at most 3-6 people in a day. It is odd to think of going to Yellowstone to get away from the hiking crowds! In the Indian Peaks, the hikers are as thick as the mosquitos (well, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration).

Are the roads now open through the park, or did you have to drive through Idaho?

Mike
post #17 of 17
Thanks for the stoke.

I have a backpack planned for September through the Pelican Valley and then up the Lamar River Valley, about 35 miles. We're hoping for some great wildlife viewing like you had.
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