Go West

School bus stopped at Bison crossingSpring is the season for a wildlife experience in Wyoming

Next month is birthing season for North America’s bison, and then for elk, moose and deer.  One of the best places to catch a glimpse of these native bovines is Wyoming—home not only to Yellowstone National Park but also the Teton Mountains and the National Elk Refuge.  Just to the south of these three ecological wonderlands is the 400-hectare Spring Creek Ranch (springcreekranch.com) at Jackson Hole.  Under the guidance of Kurt Johnson, the ranch’s resident naturalist, and armed with spotting scopes and high-powered binoculars, guests get a backstage pass to Wyoming’s majestic menagerie.  The kind of activity on view depends on the time of year.  May’s awkward newborns turn into playful calves during Wyoming’s short-lived summer, gamboling through meadows of white phlox, buttercups and yellow bells.  Fall features the fluttering of brilliant gold aspen and robust red cottonwood trees and the distinctive opportunity to hear elk bugling—the characteristic mating call of the bull elk.  In winter, large animals move less, making them easier to spot; moose, deer, bison and thousands of elk are frequently sighted.  Springtime, meanwhile, carries the tantalizing possibility of seeing bears emerge from their long hibernation.  Whatever the season, there’s a Spring Creek safari to match.  Half-day excursions start from $85.  That’s pricier than a movie ticket to Brokeback Mountain, but this is nature on a screen far wider than any cinema’s.