Local — Weather Check
Changes occurring daily in Jackson Hole as spring unfolds and old man winter releases his grip on the landscape. April was drier than normal. The Jackson valley is mostly snow-free and warmer temperatures have reduced the snow depth in the mountains quite a bit. It’s still early season, so there is limited access to dry mountain trails.
Local — The Wonders of Wildlife
Shed Antler Hunting
May 1 marks the opening of shed antler hunting as the winter wildlife closures end. You can now access the hillsides that were closed during the winter to protect wildlife. The male members of the deer family drop or shed their antlers during the winter months and they can now be collected on National Forest land. The majority of the land surrounding Jackson is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, providing lots of places to hunt for antlers. Some people use them for art while others are more interested in their medicinal qualities. The Jackson Hole Boy Scouts assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife in harvesting the shed antlers, scouring the 25,000-acre refuge for the elk racks they will then auction off to bidders during the Jackson Hole ElkFest on Town Square. Note: Wyoming Game and Fish reminds us all to be bear aware while out on the harvest.
Grizzly 399 and the Fab Four
We are thrilled to see that Grizzly 399 and her four cubs emerged from their winter den and all survived the winter. At this time of year, you may encounter bears foraging at lower elevations. Be mindful of their space.
Ungulate Calving Season
May is a busy month for wildlife as they migrate to summer territories and seek out the nutrients they have lacked during the winter months. It’s also calving season for ungulates. If you are lucky, you may see some wobbly first steps taken by baby deer, elk, moose, bison or antelope. It’s truly a magical time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Regional — Water in the West
The water content in the Snake River Basin is below normal for this time of year. This causes concern for blooming flowers, food for native animals, and the hard-working farmers downstream. In early April, the Jackson snowpack was 88% of normal and the spring has continued to be dry. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a few more wet storms to lower the potential for wildfire later in the summer.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
– Albert Einstein
What’s in the Woods
4/2 (South Park, Jackson) pair of bald eagles soaring, pair of red tail hawks soaring, pair of ravens soaring
4/5 (Jackson) number of red tail hawks in the valley has greatly increase
4/7 warm and sunny in Jackson Hole
4/11 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closes for the winter and off-season begins
4/12 (Snake River, Emily’s Pond) male and female mergansers, bald eagle, three cow moose, great blue heron
4/13 visit to Ohio to see family
4/20 (Sedona, AZ) visit to southern climes for warmth and friends. Saw javelina (Tayassu tajacu, also known as collared peccary) and mule deer
4/28 (Flat Creek) Osprey with fish, mallards
Winter wildlife closures have expired opening access to the trails around Jackson. Get out and explore! Early season trail conditions will include lots of snow, mud and obstacles including downed trees and branches. Try to find the southern exposures for less snow and mud. Lower elevation trails are mostly clear and some spring flowers have already popped. Pasque flower can now be seen on Josie’s Ridge. Park near the post office on Maple Way to access the bike path and the trails in that area. At this time of year, biking is always fun option. Choose to bike near town or on the bike paths in Grand Teton National Park. Add a visit to Dornan’s in Moose before the summer crowds arrive.
- Remember your bear spray — bears have emerged from their winter hibernation
- Be aware of young animals — moose and bears can be especially aggressive at this time of year
- Be prepared for sudden weather changes — springtime in the Rockies brings erratic weather patterns