Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop Wrap-Up

Grizzly Bear #399 watching sunrise with her cubs, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Grizzly Bear #399 watches sunrise over Grand Teton National Park as her cubs graze.

This past Friday, we wrapped up our first annual Grizzly Bear and Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop. There were two workshops spanning five days each scouring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks for grizzly bears, wolves, black bears, bison calves, and all the other wildlife that calls Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks home. Though I was out recovering from a nasty virus for the first workshop, I was able to lead the second one, both coming out a huge success! Due to my absence from the first workshop, this will be a summary of the second workshop, though I was told the first week was able to find a whopping 38 different bears!

Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

For the second week, we started our drive from Jackson on Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park immersed in a healthy bison herd with the Teton Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop.
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The Trophic Cascade from the Gray Wolf

The Canyon Wolf Pack alpha pair lead their pups along a ridge near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
The Canyon Wolf Pack alpha pair lead their pups along a ridge near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.

I won’t waste your time in discussing political agendas and biases for and against the gray wolf. We all know that it is a controversial species that many feel is not at all welcome in nature, despite the fact that it has been an integral part of that very nature for tens of thousands of years. Virtually all of the biases against these mystical creatures comes from a simple misunderstanding of their very nature. In previous posts, I have discussed at length why more wolves are needed across the country and dissected the bias from both standpoints. One key factor I have never laid out in full detail, however, is the trophic cascade of events that happens once wolves reestablish a healthy presence in their chosen environment.
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12 Favorite Photos from 2012

As always, clicking on an image will bring you to a higher quality version.

January

Hoar frost clings to trees along the Snake River on a chilly January morning in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Hoar frost clings to trees along the Snake River on a chilly January morning in Grand Teton National Park.

Despite a lack of wildlife to be found around the area, I was still able to make great opportunities as they arose. The winter had turned into an unusually warm one for Jackson Hole and while normally it’s too cold to even snow, rain was becoming common throughout January. Yet winter still persisted off and on. On one such morning, I woke up to -17F and made an opportunity to make the most of it. One of my favorite series of shots came from a bridge crossing the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. Small pieces of ice were carried down the water from farther upstream as an earlier fog coated the trees that lined the river in hoarfrost.
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Grizzly Bear Controversy from the Grand Teton National Park Elk Hunt

Grizzly Bear #399 of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming emerges from behind a spruce tree as she searches for her cubs after being separated from them in the spring of 2012. (Mike Cavaroc)
Grizzly Bear #399 emerges from behind a spruce tree in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The annual Grand Teton National Park Elk Reduction Hunt has been the subject of controversy for a number of years now, but following the death of a male grizzly along the Snake River, tensions began to escalate between a growing movement of people opposing the hunt, and the park itself.

The hunt has become something of a joke to those who oppose it. They certainly have credence given that many "hunters" can be seen parked along the roadsides south of Blacktail Butte as they sit in their cars with the heater on waiting for elk to wander by, then fire at will as soon as a small herd passes through. Along these lines, I tend to agree with the opposition to the hunt. This behavior is in no way representative of actual hunting.
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Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris – June 30-July 5, 2012

Below are my favorite photos from guiding this past week with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. Get in touch with them asap if you’re interested in a tour. Spaces are filling up fast!

Below I’ve even included this week’s top Yellowstone Darwin Award contestant!

A cow moose turns her attention ahead of her in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A cow moose turns her attention ahead of her in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
July 2, 2012 – Yellowstone Day Safari A bull elk looks over its shoulders carrying a velvet antler rack in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A bull elk looks over its shoulders carrying a velvet antler rack in Yellowstone National Park.
June 30, 2012 – Yellowstone Day Safari Two pronghorn does look back curiously in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Two pronghorn does look back curiously in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
July 3, 2012 – Grand Teton Half Day Safari A young male moose looks over curiously in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A young male moose looks over curiously in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
July 1, 2012 – Grand Teton Half Day Safari Yellowstone Darwin Awards
A man tries his best to be gored by a bison, despite warnings from a crowd of people in Yellowstone National Park.
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Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris – June 15-21, 2012

This past week was a short one for me, but nevertheless, it was very productive in terms of wildlife sightings. Below are my favorite shots from the safaris I guided through Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. If you want me to guide you out on a wildlife tour through Yellowstone and the Tetons, get in touch with them asap. We’re booking up fast!

Two bull elk graze on a hillside near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River on a perfect spring day in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Two bull elk graze on a hillside near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.
June 20, 2012 – Yellowstone National Park Day Safari A swallow peeks out from its nest in a dead tree in the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A swallow peeks out from its nest in a dead tree in the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
June 21, 2012 – Yellowstone National Park Day Safari A beaver eats from an aspen branch in a pond in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A beaver eats from an aspen branch in a pond in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
June 20, 2012 – Yellowstone National Park Day Safari A bison stands in the grass of Elk Ranch Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A bison stands in the grass of Elk Ranch Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
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