Last spring the 21st of March, the grizzlies started to come out and move through our area. One of the biggest was a bruin with a 7-inch wide front pad. I got some photos of him as he moved down the creek away from my house. For about 4 weeks we found tracks of several different bears moving up and down the creek. One was a female with a two-year-old cub, which if you know grizzlies, is not one you want to run into while taking out the trash.
This year we have had an over due spring with plenty of wet spring snow. I kept an eye out for bear tracks in the last part of March, but because of the late spring no bears showed up on the creek. However, over in Yellowstone Park and the Sunlight Basin country they had sightings the first week of April. The bears will make a beeline to creek bottoms to locate winter killed elk, moose or deer. With the explosion of wolf populations up here, wolfs have taken care of any winterkill, so the bears including black bears have a hard time finding a spring meal.
Last year the neighbor up the creek had his high dollar outdoor grill beat into the ground by the 7-inch-tracked grizzly, I call the Old Man. The burin, then, headed down to my place looking for food. I happened to be out in the pasture working when he showed up. Now older bears usually are somewhat of a gentleman, that is, if he isn’t on a meal. So I was able to persuade him to move on down the creek. But those 3-4 year old teenage grizzlies have an attitude and I try to keep my distance from them at all times! Historically the Old Man moves up and down this creek several times in the spring and again in the fall. He always stops off to snack on outdoor barbeque grills or low hanging bird feeders (which because of his fetish for birdseed I don’t have.)
Just yesterday, I heard through the creeks grapevine that the ranch just below me had a grizzly come in and snack on their grill. This goes along with the tracks may neighbor Delmar, and I spotted yesterday. The bear came down the snow packed mountain night before last. From his tracks, I could see he hit the dirt road and then took a left moving down the creek. His route took him away from my place and down to more populated country. But rest assured, in a few days he will wander back up the creek. So today my outdoor grill goes into Mike’s (hopefully) bear proof shed. While I was putting it away my wife Bertie, was digging out the bear spray. As I stepped back into the house my wife handed me my canister of spray while rolling her eye’s and saying, ‘Welcome to spring time in the Beartooth’s!”
Oh I’m still going to hunt that black bear behind the house again this spring. The season opens in May. I will keep you posted. In the mean time I’m headed off to do some spring fly fishing for steelhead in Idaho. Mike Eastman