Question for Yellowstone veterans

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Well-known member
Jul 1, 2009
We've been there twice and are heading back for a week again this fall.  While driving around the north loop (I think)  We saw quite a few people on one side of the road sitting in lawn chairs on the high side on our right at near dusk and appeared to be looking down into the valley on our left.  I'm assuming they were waiting for the wildlife to come out into the valley?
Have you done this? 
It is called a wolf jam. Anytime wildlife shows up close to the road people find out via the grapevine and flock to the location. There are also bear jams, moose jams, buffalo jams and elk jams. Anytime you see a gathering at the side of the road pull over and join the group. Usually there are several spotting scopes set up and people love to share them. No one can spend much time looking through a spotting scope before it starts to hurt your eyes so one scope can serve a lot of people.
Yup! We spent several hours in the Lamar Valley area, waiting for wolves. Paid off, too, when a young bear (probably his first year away from his mama) ambled along without noticing the two wolves waiting for him. We had no idea a bear could run that fast! He was up a tree in split seconds, while the wolves circled the tree, seemingly laughing at him. It was obvious they were just having fun, but that poor bear stayed in the tree for a good 45 minutes after they left. Lesson learned!

Met a lot of nice people that way, and they were happy to share their wildlife viewing scopes with anyone who didn't have one. Seems there are whole groups that come into the park just to spend the day in one or two areas watching the wildlife.
There are a few spots in the northeast part of the park that usually have wolves. Bears can run like 35 miles per hour, which means it is pretty stupid to run from a bear. Running triggers an automatic response from a bear to chase the prey down.

Buffaloes are easy to spot in Hayden Valley just south of the Canyon area. Usually elk can be found all over the park.
The spots that have lots of people with huge telephoto lenses and spotting scopes are the ones to join. The professionals who are in the park every day know where animals appear most often, and they hang out there. Note that even the pros sometimes guess wrong, but they are right more often than not. You can also watch for the wolf and bear viewing vans. People pay the guides to see specific animals, and their livelihood depends on knowing where the animals are.
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