Trip Journal & Blog

Archive for the ‘Jackson Hole Almanac’ Category

Spring is here!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The snow is melting fast in the valley and green up has begun. Spring has finally arrived! Elk will soon start to migrate from the refuge and the bison calving season is near. Spring is a great time to view wildlife.  The snow at higher elevations keep wildlife in the valley increasing our chances to see grizzly bears, moose, elk, and more. We have already spotted sandhill cranes for the first time this year and have been on the lookout for the first osprey that have migrated all the way from Mexico and Cuba.  With spring comes new life in Jackson Hole and new and exciting opportunities to explore this ecosystem.  

 

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We now offer a Primitive Skills Survival tour in Grand Teton National Park! This tour is great for kids and anyone wanting a hands on learning opportunity in a fun and relaxed setting.  You will learn basic survival techniques used for generations by local native tribes.  From friction fire to survival hunting and trapping, we can customize the tour and focus on the primitive skills you are interested in.  You will learn survival skills such as animal tracking, identifying edible and medicinal plants, hazards of the land, primitive navigation, and how to start a friction fire with a hand and bow drill; to name some of the topics covered in this tour.  Connor O’Malley, our primitive skills guru will be facilitating this experience.  He is a wealth of knowledge regarding hunting with a bow and arrow, flint knapping stone tools and finding edible plants.

Book now to get in on the action! dscn4004.JPGdscn6846.JPG

Mountain Monarchs

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

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Bighorn Sheep, also known as Ovis Canadensis, is my favorite species of wildlife to watch during their early winter rut.   They can be seen from close distances while they are completely indifferent to human presence.  Early December, Rams are in the process of, or have just, established a dominance hierarchy.  It is possible to see rams present their horns as an identifying feature to one another.    Rams size each other up and possibly clash to identify their status.   Clashes are incredibly impressive to watch.   Rams don’t give much notice when they are about to clash.   Often they are standing 20 yards apart then they run and when they are about to make contact they will rear up on their hind legs and make contact with their keratinous horns.   This crash can be heard up to a mile away.   Mature rams may clash up to a dozen times in an hour.    You may see the contestants then rub scent on each other from their preorbital scent gland for latter recognition. 

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The keen observer might have the opportunity to watch young and old rams alike advance toward a ewe and force the female to stand up and urinate with a light kick.  The male might then taste or smell the urine and exhibit the flehmen response.  Look for the rams extending their neck out and curling their upper lip up.   The main function is to transfer scent to the Jacobson organ to assess chemical clues.  Males during the rut often exhibit the flehmen response to identity the reproductive status of a particular ewe. 

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Enjoy one of our winter wildlife EcoTours to explore Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.  We provide a great introduction to the National Park and Western Wyoming while observing as much wildlife as possible.   This is an educational activity for couples and families alike.   Call for more details, we guarantee a wildlife tour to remember.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Wildlife Safaris

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Eco Tour Adventure’s fall wildlife safaris have been featured in several national newspapers including The LA Times, Washington Post, and Boston Herald.

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Autumn is has arrived in Jackson Hole. The summer rush has passed, the children are back in school, and the crowds are starting to thin out. With the change in season comes a change in wildlife behavior. The summer has been hot, and many of the animals that call this place home hunker down in the shade or close to the water to keep cool.  There are many physical and behavioral adaptations that help animals keep cool in the summer or conversely warm in the winter.  On one of our educational wildlife watching programs you just might have the opportunity to see a large bull moose bedded down by a body of water in the comfort of the shade with their legs extended to help dissipate their body heat.  During the winter months you might find the same moose in a different habitat type laying on top of their long gangly legs, reducing the surface area of their body exposed to the winter weather.     

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On our half or full day educational adventures in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park during the fall months there are opportunities around every corner to observe species like elk, moose, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, eagles, white pelicans, swans, bears, and river otters. If the stars align correctly then we can even get a glimpse of some of Grand Teton National Park’s 50-60 wolves.  

 

Elk are my favorite species to observe in the fall. Come on a tour to get a better feel for what you are seeing unraveling in the field. Fall marks the elk rut or breeding season.  Here the mature bull elk are making their case for why they should be the breeders of the year. Generally the most “fit” bulls have the opportunity to sire most of the females in a population. Males are displaying their impressive antlers that may weigh as much as 40lbs a pair. One of the most impressive sounds that we hear in our woods is the sound of the male elk bugle. Just think of a sound that one would hear on a scary Halloween night. A scream that echoes through the forest for up to a mile. Males bugle back and forth to each other advertising their fitness and stamina, all the while the female are listening with their heads down grazing.   The most “fit” males accumulate on average 26 females that they intend to breed with. The males will then keep “their” ladies in a tight group keeping other adult males from entering his harem.  

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It’s a pretty amazing sight to see a mature bull with antlers spanning 6 feet walking out of the morning fog, bugling with head up and his ladies all around.    

 

Let us have the opportunity to share this wonderful ecosystem with your group.  Western Wyoming will take on a whole new light as your learn about this incredible area while your time is maximized viewing the area’s abundant wildlife.  

Let the Rut Begin!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Late summer is the beginning of breeding season in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. Right now bison are gathering for the annual August rut and you can hear the loudest, snorts, roars, sneezing, and belches across the valley. The bison rut is so exciting to watch because of the action between bulls to show dominance. The bulls wallow and communicate a series of sounds from snorts to grunts to display their strength and vigor. bison-wallowing-for-the-rut-019.jpg

During the rut, lone bulls and bull groups join the cow and calf groups and begin courting the females. Once a bull has found a female close to estrus, he will stay by her side to keep other bulls from mating with her. After bison mate, they break up within hours and the bull moves on to other females.

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Also, the bull elk are beginning to bugle and this mating ritual can be heard at night in certain areas of the park. “Bugling” is meant to challenge other males as well as attract females.

Join us for an Eco Tour to observe the breeding activity in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.

Meet “The Green Machine”!

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Happy 4th of July from Eco Tour Adventures!

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We are so excited to introduce the newest member of our fleet. The “Green Machine” as we like to call her, is a new customized 4×4 drive van with safari style roof hatches, large windows that open and spotting scopes to safely maximize wildlife viewing. We customized the interior with wood paneling, and 9 reclining captain seats. green-machine-1-010.jpg

Also included is a great naturalist kit filled with visual aids, horns, pelts, skulls, and antlers for hands on learning.

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As with all of our tours we keep the group size small (max 7 on mixed tours) so everyone has a window seat and can enjoy the spaciousness of the “Green Machine” and receive the best wildlife experience.

Join Eco Tour Adventures for an unforgettable wildlife and park tour!