About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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Fog lifts around the Teton Mountains and above East Gros Ventre Butte as seen from the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming.
Many people have made New Year’s Resolutions, and most won’t be kept. The problem with the average New Year’s Resolution is that it’s such a drastic departure from a normal routine that it becomes very easy to break. In most cases, it also comes at a cost that most people don’t want to experience: cutting out sugar; waking up much earlier to run; etc. Without seeing much evidence for any immediate change, old habits revert back to a natural routine. What if you could adapt a New Year’s Resolution that not only brought about noticeable change, but actually made you feel better? We’ve all experienced that feeling of invincibility, where nothing could bring us down. What if that feeling, where no matter what someone said we were still flying high, could become the norm?
For millenia now, humans have gazed up at the night sky in search of answers, clarity, and self-awareness. The night sky has always been a treasure chest of wonderment and puzzles, revealing clues not just about our past as a race, but about ourselves as well. Today, the fascination that a dark sky provides has given way to urban sprawl and modern conveniences, consistently keeping us disconnected from finding real meaning in our lives. Our historical amazement at a dark, night sky has now become nothing more than a faded photograph in our increasingly distant past. Dark skies have become a rarity not just in America, but in every developed nation, and are continuing to fade into the abyss of quite often, unnecessary illumination.
Fortunately, there are those who are willing to put everything they have into preserving the few dark skies we have left.
A small herd of cow elk graze in a meadow below the Teton Mountains in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Below I’ve charted out the best times of the year to see the most requested wildlife in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Below the chart, I’ve described the reasoning for those times of the year, as well as areas that those particular animals frequently are seen. Keep in mind that nature works on its own schedule, so even though a box might be marked as red (not a good time to see it) you can still see it.
Please don’t ask me for specific updates on certain animals. As you can probably imagine, it would begin to take up quite a bit of my time. If you’re interested in having me guide a tour to help you find some wildlife, I can be hired through Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris.
A video compilation featuring winter footage from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and beyond.
Winter appears to winding down here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming significantly early. I suppose Mother Nature felt bad for giving us such a short summer last year, so if weather stays consistent, we’ll have an extra month this year!
For the most part, winter wasn’t incredibly eventful. The title comes from winter being unusually warm much of the time. There were certainly plenty of cold days as well as a pretty respectable amount of snow, but it never really "felt" like a Jackson Hole winter. As a result, much of the wildlife didn’t follow their usual rounds and so sightings weren’t quite as frequent or predictable. Luckily though, there’s still always wildlife to be found and sometimes even gives you a little surprise.
One such occasion was when a black wolf and a mule deer buck had a two-day standoff just off the highway, captivating the town.
Most people nowadays are well aware that wolves and grizzly bears are controversial species. Regular readers of this blog know that I am passionate about the well-being of these predatory animals. Most people think that all the controversy stems from them potentially eating ranchers’ cattle stock. The truth is, that’s just a scapegoat. The real motive is money that goes beyond ranching.
While wolves may in fact get into ranchers’ stocks and feed on a cow or calf every now and then, the claims are widely overblown thanks to fear and hatred perpetuated by corrupted politicians holding office in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, three states who rely heavily on hunting for valuable revenue. The simple fact is hunting brings in money to the states that they feel is much more important than the well-being of animals that are proven to be beneficial for regions found all over each of these states.
Elk graze on the National Elk Refuge near Miller Butte as the Grand Teton towers above Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In a place like Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it’s very easy to get spoiled by the amount of wildlife you can capture along the road. It can make for exciting drives, but at the same time it can veer us away from the entire reason we’re out looking for wildlife to begin with.
The next time you’re out looking for a wildlife shot along the road, or even just a nice landscape, pull off of the road and turn your car off. If possible, get away from any highway noise and traffic. Get out of your car, and then wait. Within minutes, you’ll hear birds beginning to chirp, followed by other forms of nature that were waiting for the intruding noise to go away: coyotes howling; elk bugling; etc.