Spring Creek Ranch’s Wolf and Bear Safari was just highlighted as an “Adventurous Alternative to an African Safari” in the travel section of the Wall Street Journal! Check out the article here, and make sure to visit our safari pages to learn more about Spring Creek Ranch’s exciting package offerings.
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 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 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 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
Last week’s wolf and bear safari was an extremely successful weekend of wildlife watching throughout Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We were able to find many grizzly bears, black bears and a solitary gray wolf. Although these predators were the focus of this excursion, we also had great sightings of bighorn sheep, moose, river otters and many other birds and mammals.
It is a relatively quiet time in Jackson Hole in terms of people but one of the best times to view wildlife. Ground squirrels have finally emerged from their long hibernation, migratory birds such as bluebirds, cranes, red-tail and Swainson’s Hawks have returned and the large hoofed mammals are on the move toward their Summer ranges.
Today, we watched a pair of coyotes chasing bighorn sheep, a porcupine foraging in an open meadow, and a northern shrike along with over a dozen moose, thousands of elk and mule deer. Elk and moose aren’t typically found in the same habitats but we were fortunate to observe both (the two largest members of the deer family) side by side as they browsed and migrated through Grand Teton National Park.
Lots of moose activity has been seen on recent safaris and this moose was particularly entertaining to watch as it eagerly browsed on a spruce tree. Spruce are probably not a moose’s favorite food, but long Winters limit available forage and require them to diversify their diet. Moose are often the highlight of a wildlife safari since they are so unique looking and seem to have a lot of personality. Signs of Spring continue to take place and today I saw my first Osprey which had returned to Jackson Hole after its long migration South (often as far away as South America).
Today’s excursion was a classic winter wildlife safari here in Jackson Hole with sightings of bighorn sheep, many bald eagles, coyotes, mule deer and thousands of elk. Our local wildlife is very well equipped to deal with snowy days such as today, as this moose photograph suggests. The snow landing on the fur of this moose isn’t melting which tells us that there is a substantial temperature gradient between its skin and outer-most fur which keeps it comfortable even in extreme conditions.
This moose can be determined to be a bull by the presence of its ‘pedicle’ which is the part of the skull from which the antlers grow. It can be seen just in front of the ears. The blizzarding snow surrounding this moose was captured by stabilizing the camera and setting it to a very slow shutter speed. Other interesting sightings from today included a northern shrike and large flock of sage grouse.
Wildlife watching began early on today’s safari since we encountered a red fox hunting within about a minute. This fox has been seen frequently around Spring Creek Ranch lately, taking advantage of the vast undeveloped land within this property. Another highlight came toward the end of the safari when we found this bald eagle perched in Grand Teton National Park. The warm, sunny weather today enhanced the experience even more.
Lots of interesting wildlife sightings on today’s safari including a shy porcupine perched cryptically in a cottonwood tree. These large rodents are fascinating and their unique ability to discourage most predators from bothering them thanks to their thousands of protective quills.
After a full day of wildlife watching, I returned home to find this little owl perched on my wife’s skis, which leaned against our house. I had only seen a Boreal Owl once before so to see one in my yard (and seemingly happy to be photographed) was a fantastic close to the day!!!