Is Chronic Wasting Disease a real concern?

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a very real concern here in Jackson Hole. CWD is very similar to mad cow disease. It is rooted in a prion, an abnormal cell in an animals body which reduces its ability to combat disease. It is a fatal disease!

CWD is transmitted between animals via the ingestion of browse which has been urinated/defecated upon and then spread by animals that have stepped onto an affected area. Thusly, the disease can be spread from one deer species to another (mule deer, whitetail deer, elk and moose).

The major concern here in Jackson Hole is that, if spread, such transmission could have a disastrous
ecological impact both in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and the overall Yellowstone Ecosystem. The disease was confirmed near Jackson Hole (in Grand Teton) just last year when a road-killed mule deer tested positive for the disease.

Currently, environmental groups are in legal proceedings against the National Elk Refuge (overseen by US Fish and Wildlife Service) to reduce elk numbers and supplemental feeding there in an effort to minimize possible transmission of CWD.The concern is that so many animals in such close proximity to each other may pose a significant reason for concern of the disease transmission.

For more information, contact Teton Wild at

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#Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Where can you see this abundance of wildflowers?

Wildflowers will be in bloom in the Jackson Hole Valley, Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for the entire summer…if you know where to see them!

Beginning in late May (depending on snowpack), wildflowers here will be in full bloom and easily seen. Among the many flower varieties seen here are Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Indian Paintbrush (WY state flower) and Lupines, but flowers include dozens of other types.

The landscape absolutely explodes with color during this majestic bloom. Hummingbirds, bluebirds and other feathered species are drawn to the nectar and insects that enjoy these flowers.

This is a wonderful time to see beautiful flowers as well as newborns….elk, moose, bison, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, birds, coyotes, bears and many others.

Call Teton Wild for flower and animal updates at 770/686-1652.

Iconic Elk Antler Arches in Jackson, WY

The elk antler arches on the town square of Jackson, WY are one of the most iconic structures associated with the American West.The southwest corner of the town square was the 1st to get its arch in 1953. Funded by the local Rotary Club, additional arches were added between 1966 and 1969.

As these are real elk antlers, they naturally decompose over time and are replaced about every 30-40 years.

Arches are but by workers who weave each antler (weighing about 20 pounds each) into a steel frame and then screw the antlers down to provide extra support and prevent theft. Each arch contains up to 12,000 ponds of antlers,
some of which come from the Jackson Hole Boy Scout Troop. The remainder are purchased from regional collectors/dealers throughout the mountain west.

Get more information on elk and other wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from Teton Wild.

Viewing Bears near Jackson, Wyoming

Bears are going through a major change right now in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Specifically, they are emerging from their winter dens.

The 1st to emerge (happening right now) will be adult males, then mothers with last year’s cubs, then mothers with newborns. All will come out of the den ravenous and will be constantly looking for food.

For a few months, they will focus on winter kills (elk, moose, bison) and then roots, flowers and grasses. Later in summer they turn to white bark pine seeds and ripe berries and even army cutworm moths..

Once back in the den for hibernation in December, bears will not eat, urinate or defecate until the following spring.

#Ecotours Grand Teton National Park, #Photography Tours Grand Teton National Park, #Wildlife Tours Grand Teton National Park

Mt. Moran in Grand Teton National Park

Ever seen Mt. Moran?

Mt. Moran rises to 12,610 ft from Jackson Lake in northern Grand Teton National Park (45 minutes north of Jackson, WY). Its top is composed of sandstone, formed over 10 million years ago when this mountain was submersed in an inland salt water lake. As such, it stands in contrast to some of the more jagged peaks surrounding it….Grand Teton (13,776 ft).

It is named after the American frontier landscape artist Thomas Moran. In summer, its glaciers are easily seen along with its Basalt dike. This dike extends vertically and appears to be man-made as it is almost perfectly vertical. In winter, these features are not visible due to snow accumulation.

This mountain is one of the most well-known and frequently requested spots to view on tours with Teton Wild Custom Wildlife Tours in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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Viewing Pronghorn Antelope in Wyoming

Which are more regularly seen in Wyoming, humans or Pronghorn antelope?

Interestingly, there are quite a few more Pronghorn than people here. A 2018 US Census accounting showed the human population of WY at over 579,000. Pronghorn numbers in WY currently exceed the human population figure, but an official estimate of their numbers has not recently been published.

Pronghorn around Jackson, WY embark on a significant migration from Grand Teton National Park in late fall to an area over 100 miles south and then back again in May/June.

These are the 2nd fastest land animals in North America and can run at 60 mph. However they are not great at jumping a fence. Due to their inability to jump well vertically, they get into fatal trouble around fences. Additionally, they suffer a high mortality rate due to vehicle accidents. As a result, Wyoming DOT has installed “overpasses” along their traditional migration routes to aid these animals in crossing the highway safely. The overpasses have worked!

Come see them in person on a private tour with Teton Wild and witness their beauty along with that of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

#Teton Wild Custom Wildlife Tours #Grand Teton National Park #Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
#Ecotours #Photography Tours

Visiting Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park

Snake River Overlook is one of the most frequently requested stops on our tours. It’s one of the most scenic views in Grand Teton National Park and its popularity amongst visitors has been boosted by photographs by the renowned photographer Ansel Adams. From this vantage point, one can see both the Snake River Valley and Grand Teton Range.

Weather permitting, Teton Wild, LLC makes it a point to stop at this spectacular view.
There, we discuss with patrons the magnificent scenery, geology and abundant wildlife that call this region home.
#Grand Teton National Park #Jackson Hole Wildlife Tours #Snake River Overlook #Scenic and Wildlife Tours #Ecotours #Teton Wild

About Teton Wild Custom Wildlife Tours

Teton Wild,LLC is a scenic and wildlife tour company in Jackson Hole, WY specializing in private, vehicle-based tours in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the spectacular scenery of The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Tours focus on the abundant wildlife species which exist here (moose, elk, bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, whitetail/mule deer, bears, wolves, eagles and many others) along with geology, botany and history.
All tours are performed in 6 passenger SUVs providing ample opportunity for scenic/wildlife viewing and photography.
Park entry fee, drinks, snacks and optics are provided.

Is this guy sticking his tongue out at you?

Actually, this Bighorn is “phlemming” …, he’s smelling the air with his nostrils and tongue searching for a female in estrus.

Much like all members of the deer family, (elk, moose, whitetail, muleys) sheep do the same thing during their yearly mating ritual.Beginning in early October, there will be a small herd of about 200  sheep assembled here (just outside of Jackson) for the winter months.

Here sheep will mate in December.  At that time, rams become aggressive towards each other and often violently charge their rivals to establish breeding rights.  Their head-to-head collisions can be heard clearly.

A few months afterward, the ewes will give birth to the next generation and then all will migrate a few miles north of Jackson to higher elevations and remain there for the summer.

Some of the “kids”, as newborn sheep and goats are referred to, will be born here.  Other kids are born on the way to Sheep Mountain and will not be seen here until the following fall.  The kids are fun to watch and are amazingly nimble when traversing rocky cliffs…even at such a young age!

Anyone seen a cross fox lately?

Anyone seen a cross fox lately?

The cross fox is a variant of the red fox which exists here in WY.  It is called a “cross” because of the black stripe running down the spine of its back which intersects another black stripe across its shoulders, thus forming a cross shape.  This fox is partially melanistic.  Fully melanistic animals are totally black in color…the opposite of albinism.

Cross foxes are somewhat common in the northwestern US.  Once abundant in ID and UT, their numbers have been significantly reduced due to the uniqueness of their fur pattern.

In comparison to the red/silver fox, cross foxes can be significantly larger.  They can weigh up to 30 lbs, as opposed to the red/siver fox average weight of about 15 lbs. The accompanying photo taken near the Gros Ventre River (10 miles north of Jackson) 2 months ago ( taken by my friend Stephen Fetters of Nature’s Corner Photography, ) illustrates the cross pattern and potential size difference between the two.  This size difference is due to age, diet and genetics. Cross foxes are not a cross breed between other canine species such as coyotes or gray wolves.   They are simply a larger specimen of the red fox.

Life of a fox.

All foxes live on rodents and larger animal carcasses year round.  Some of these carcasses are recent or leftover coyote/wolf kills.  Others are the result of a wild animal’s naturally-occuring fate.  Foxes will feed on a deer, moose, elk or bison carcass, if there is not a larger canine nearby.  In warmer months, foxes also consume insects, salmonids, non-predatory fowl and plant life.

Cross/red/silver foxes, as well as coyotes and gray wolves, all mate in February and have their litters in April.  At birth, fox kits are blind and weigh less than 1 lb.  They will be nursed in the den by the mother for several weeks.  Then, they will graduate to solid food provided by the father…primarily meat from a carcass or rodents dad catches.  By late spring, the kits will be able to leave the den and travel with the parents, but only under close supervision.  By fall, the kits will be grown and able to support themselves. They can then be on their own to seek out new territory and a mate, away from mom and dad.

So what does the future hold for this beautiful fox?

Cross foxes are not “legally” protected.  However, I believe they should be “morally” protected. They are  exquisite creatures that exist only to fulfill their role as secondary predators/scavengers in nature.  They will thrive as long as nature/man allows.

Come see these beautiful animals!  Please follow us on Twitter @Teton1Wild .

Mark Bolen

Teton Wild