This time we saw the bears only at a great distance and likewise the wolves. We heard of others seeing them-- when we had just left a place or hadn't gotten there. Fortunately, we have memories of other trips to help.
There are photos but you have to squint to recognize their shapes without seeing them move. If we had had a bigger telephoto, we'd have done better with the wolves. We are not professionals; paying $10,000 for that kind wasn't on our shopping list. I've read that some photograph through a scope and that might be something we can try next time.
One thing that never disappoints are the bison. The first time, over twenty years ago, when I saw the Lamar, I was amazed at the sight of the big herds. There aren't words to express what it feels like to see even a bit of the sort of thing the first explorers and settlers saw. There aren't many places to see free, wild herds. Yellowstone is one of them. This time, they were more broken into smaller herds and maybe that was the doing of park service to be easier on the grass or maybe it's their time with the young calves and this works best. Some breeding was going on, which tended to take the usual lone bulls away from their haunts to join the herds.
So these are our photos from July in the park. Some were right alongside the road-- sometimes on it...
It takes some doing to see the animals in these next photos. The first is a black bear going over the hill. Watching it through binoculars was clearer. The next was at the second kill we'd see at such a distance that you had to know it was there to see the wolves around it. Later the wolves appeared circle a bison and the antelope herd. The potential prey didn't seem worried.
I read about the alpha wolf in one of the packs having his jaw broken by either an elk or bison. He lost his position but was able to bring down an elk calf. He was unwilling to leave the carcass when another, more powerful pack came and they killed him. To live, some must die.
Second one taken with more powerful telephoto as were the following ones of the wolves, across the valley, trying to get their dinner.
To see wildlife in Yellowstone requires some patience, careful watching for movement, and luck. We saw a coyote pretty close also but couldn't get the camera up until it was over the hill. People share what they've seen and where. There is a lot of good feeling when in the wildlife areas. It's exciting to be even that close to wild things and their very real lives.