Spring Creek Ranch featured in the Idaho State Journal

The Idaho State Journal highlights Spring Creek Ranch as a premier Jackson Hole winter getaway provider:

“Sitting in the horse drawn sleigh, swathed in wool blankets, we marveled at the spectacular view of Jackson Hole below us. To the west, multi-colored lights of the town of Jackson, Wyo., sparkled in the cold crystalline night framed by snow covered mountains. Coyotes yipped and howled. It is a signature Western experience with magnificent views and a sleigh-ride route that overlooks the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, the National Elk Refuge…” Read more

Wildlife Watching in Jackson Hole

Most people live their whole lives with squirrels and pigeons as their surrounding wildlife. A trip to a national park like Grand Teton or Yellowstone is an opportunity to see wildlife that thus far has only existed in your imagination or on your TV.

Visitors to Jackson Hole have the opportunity to see bear, moose, elk and much more. Watching a moose eat lunch or seeing a grizzly bear lead her cub down a path is truly thrilling. Unfortunately, many visitors to Jackson are unaware of the habits and schedules of the animals they most want to see and can spend days on a futile search for wildlife. Hiring a guide or taking a wildlife safari can greatly increase your chances of animal sightings but, if seeing a specific animal is important to you, it’s best to plan your trip during the time of year when the animal is most likely to be spotted. The three most sought after wildlife sightings are bears, moose and elk.

Bears

yellowstone-grizzly

Bears are the most sought after sighting in Jackson Hole and a special treat that not everyone is lucky enough to receive. The two main bears found in Jackson are black and grizzlies. Both types of bears are most likely to be seen in the spring, April through June, when the snow has started to melt at lower elevations. By the time summer rolls around the bears make their way back to higher elevations, which is now clear of snow. In the summer, July and August, they become a rarer sighting, but on high elevation hikes are still a common run-in. Black bears, unlike grizzlies, often return to lower elevations in the fall as they forage bushes for berries. There are a few celebrity bears in the park, notably #399 and her cubs, which stay in lower elevations and frequently can be found in the few miles surrounding Jackson Lake Lodge.


Moose

jackson wy moose

Moose seem to be every tourist’s second most desired animal sighting. Unfortunately, they are the hardest to find during Jackson’s main tourist season, from May to August. Moose love snow and colder climates, so during the winter, fall and spring, their dark bodies are often easily spotted loping through the white terrain. In the warmer months, you will most likely find them at higher, cooler elevations. As fall approaches, so does mating season, and your likelihood of finding moose out and about looking for a mate is at its height.


Elk

jackson hole elk

Elk are a yearlong attraction in Jackson. The winter months keep thousand of elk contained on the elk refuge where they are fed. You can take a sleigh ride out into the herd and get a close up view. Spring and fall are the migration time for elk and they can often be spotted along roads and trails as they make their way to and from the refuge. The summer is the most challenging time for spotting elk, but still not a rarity. You are most likely to find them on a hike in the woods where it is shady and cool. For a special thrill, elk enthusiast should visit in the fall. During mating season, the still dusk air is filled with the eerie and magical sounds of elk mating calls. Elk bugling back and forth across the valley is an experience that is not to be missed.


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of nature’s most amazing animals. By timing your trip to Jackson Hole properly, you can greatly increase your chances of seeing the big, beautiful wildlife Jackson offers. While you’re at it you might just run into a bald eagle, bison or big horned sheep that also inhabit the area.

Click here to learn more about the Wildlife Safaris offered by Spring Creek Ranch

Deer X 4

Deer - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Today’s safari observed a very unusual combination of sightings which included four species within the Cervidae (deer) family here in Jackson Hole. The rarest deer found here is the white-tailed deer (seen commonly in the east) so after spotting this large ungulate along the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park, we were especially excited to view elk, moose and mule deer throughout the evening’s outing.

This is a rare compilation of mammal sightings and the addition of bighorn sheep, bison and ground squirrels only added to our impressive species list for the day. Interesting bird sightings of the safari included horned larks, mountain bluebirds, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and green-winged teals.

Goldeneye (Nothing to do with James Bond, 007)

Common Goldeneye - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
The word “common” can be misleading when it comes to wildlife names. This vibrant duck seen on yesterday’s safari is a good example of this, as its name is “Common Goldeneye,” but is fairly unusual here in Jackson Hole.

The Barrow’s Goldeneye is much more typically seen, so this was a fun addition to our day’s species list. Currently, we have lots of great behaviors to observe and on yesterday’s trip we watched coyotes hunting, bighorn sheep chasing one another, moose foraging, an eagle scavenging and bison grazing.

Winter Wildlife Escape

Winter Wildlife Escape at Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Each of our wildlife safari excursions offers unique wildlife sightings and today’s full-day trip was no exception. The vast majority of raptors (birds of prey) have migrated South of Jackson Hole, but we were able to view four species of raptors throughout the day.

Northern Harriers and Red-tailed hawks are unusual to view in winter months here, but we had great sightings of both earlier this morning. Rough-legged hawks and bald eagles were also seen including this eagle who had recently scavenged on the National Elk Refuge. Other interesting sightings from the trip included close views of elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mule deer.

National Elk Refuge Provides Bighorn Habitat, Too

Big Horn Sheep - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson, WY
Our wildlife safaris are offered year-round and I keep a log of sightings from every trip that we have ever done with an approximate count for each species.

On one of last week’s safaris we counted one of the highest number of bighorn sheep ever recorded on the National Elk Refuge: 61! As the snow keeps falling more and more animals are moving on to the Refuge including thousands of elk, bison, coyote, bald eagles and bighorns.

The Toughest Jackson Hole Wildlife

Swans - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
By late December, only the toughest and resilient wildlife remain in this wintery Jackson Hole region. Most of our breeding birds are long gone and the remaining animals deserve our respect for there adaptations allowing them to survive here. We have observed many examples of these animals in recent safaris including bighorn sheep, moose, bison, elk, mule deer, red fox, coyote, golden eagle, bald eagles and trumpeter swans. These two swans somehow looked comfortable as they sat on the frozen ice of Flat Creek yesterday. Moose sightings have been phenomenal lately and for the past two days we have seen bull moose with antlers as well as bulls who have shed their antlers already. Like other antler-bearing mammals, moose shed their antlers yearly, but moose shed earlier than our elk and deer.