As winter leads into spring one of our favorite times of year is when the grizzlies come out with their new babies! As April hits the older bears leave their dens as food becomes available. Later in April the real treat begins with the newborn cubs or coy (cubs of the year), who emerge with their moms out of the den. These playful coy are one of the best things to photograph in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and always on our list of animals to find while on tour.
Later in the spring from May to June we’ll search for other newborn animals like our favorite “red dogs” or bison calves. Spring is a great time to see just about any animal along with their newborns. During our tours we will be searching for fox kits, moose calves, bison “red dogs”, grizzly coy, elk calves, and big horn sheep lambs. If you are into birding we can also potentially look for owlets and eaglets. We have led tours directly viewing into red tail hawk, great horned owl, bald eagle and osprey nests.
Spring gives us an excuse to photograph just about anything including the common animals that you might not often stop for like a deer with a fawn, swans with chicks, and other commons animals. If you’re looking to catch newborn wildlife our spring tours will be the best way to catch these animals in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
If wildlife, warm weather and beautiful sunsets are your cup of tea, summer is the best time to visit. If you are so inclined, we can start or end a tour with a sunset or sunrise at one of our favorite scenic locations. Immediately photographing animals before or after the sunrise or sunset. As local guides we keep close track of where animals are daily and know the best places to view wildlife. Grizzlies and wolves are our specialty and will be the focus on most of our tours. Summer is also a great time to check every box on your wildlife checklist, with longer days which lead to greater chances of viewing wildlife. This is a great time of year to lead short wildlife walks, which both get us out of the car and increase our chances of seeing wildlife that other folks aren’t seeing.
Wildflowers are best in the summer months from June to early August. So, if you want to catch that grizzly, bison, or wolf surrounded by wildflowers this is your best chance to get it.
Whether you want to photograph grizzlies foraging, wolves interacting socially within the pack, moose swimming and foraging in the water, elk growing their antlers during the velvet phase, or photograph one of our favorite owls, the great grey owl, summer is a great time to visit. If small birds are something you would like to photograph, we will find some of our seasonal favorites like mountain blue birds, yellow warblers, harlequin duck, or western tanagers. One thing we can promise is that a summer wildlife tour with us will get you some of the best images in your portfolio.
Hands down fall is our favorite time of year to lead tours. Every direction you look is another beautiful view of fall color and abundant wildlife. For us the highlight of fall is that every animal is still in the area and hasn’t hibernated yet. You can readily catch grizzlies foraging and fattening up for winter. Wolves are also getting ready for winter, often seen chasing herds of bison or elk looking for weaker animals to take down as prey. This is also the most exciting time to photograph moose and elk during their fall rut. Amazing battles ensue as male elk and moose battle for females and to assert dominance.
Fall can also be a great time to catch the first snows of winter. An inch or two of snow on fall color is one of the ultimate shots to catch as a photographer. This coupled with the fact that all roads will still be open mean we can drive anywhere in the park and enjoy the extra element of snow in our photos. If you are looking to photograph owls fall is the best time of year in Yellowstone to catch the great grey owls. As summer tourism start to dwindle, owls take over the meadows around Yellowstone Lake. The lack of snow allows us to hike around still, photographing owls hunting in the morning or evening.
The temperature is still warm enough during the day and just around freezing at night in fall.
So if you’re concerned about the temperature in winter, a fall tour with us is a great alternative.
Winter is the most testing time of year for photography but it can also the most rewarding. Making sure you are warm and comfortable will be our top priority, bring extra layers and we’ll make sure we have hand warmers, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate on hand. The lack of tourists during the winter can make for some of the most rewarding opportunities in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Most of our favorite wolf encounters have been in the winter months. Seeing a wolf pack with less than 10 people around is a common sight in the winter and one of our goals for every tour. Snowy bison are pretty much a guarantee and also one of our favorite sights. Showing off how resilient bison are to the cold temperatures with their long fur coats. Their snowy faces are great to photograph from pushing around feet of snow exposing the grass underneath the snow to eat.
Winter also is a great time to see a fox or coyote hunting. They stand out well in a white landscape and it’s a treat to watch them hunt for voles with their huge jumps and head first dives into the snow for prey. Not only are we looking for large animals but we are also hoping for small animal encounters like our favorites, the white long tailed weasels or “ermine” or an American Marten. These animals are extremely fast but with our knowledge of the areas that frequent, we should be able to catch a glimpse of one hunting. December is also the best month to photograph big horn sheep rams battling each other in long drawn out displays of rut behavior.
Whether you are considering Grand Teton National Park based out of Jackson or a Gardiner based Yellowstone trip. Winter is a great time to enjoy animal activity and beautiful snow covered landscapes.