8+ day backpacking trip in the Teton wilderness in May/June. Hunting(small game)/fishing possible?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Brian Skibbe, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    Greetings all,

    I'm in the process of planning a backpacking excursion into the Teton wilderness, starting in Turpin Meadows and making my way to Hawk's rest. (I plan in being here 8-10 days) In planning my meals, I was curious... Is it possible to: 1) hunt small game(rabbit, squirrel, etc..) via trapping or firearms? or 2) fly fish in any of these streams or rivers (i.e. buffalo fork, atlantic creek, yellowstone river, etc..)? I'm by no means going to depend on either method for calories, nor am I a "hunter", by choice, though I love to fly fish. If fishing is out of the question in late May through early June, I'll leave my fly rod at home.

    I was just curious as to what game is available to one that's in the backcountry for a while.

    I've spent some time searching forums, and Wyoming hunting and fishing regulations, but haven't found a good source of information, so I'm asking here just in case someone knows these things well.

    Best regards,

    Brian
     
  2. Outdoor_Fool

    Outdoor_Fool Member

    Messages:
    490
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Brian,

    Although the 2017 regs are not final yet, in 2016 no small game seasons were open at that time, and there does not appear to be any proposed changes in that regard.
    https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regulations/Regulation-PDFs/REGULATIONS_CH11

    Fishing in that area is mostly, if not completely by fly or artificial lure, so your plan to fly fish is great. A WY non-resident license is 92 bucks. Yellowstone NP has its own regs, if you venture north of Hawk's Rest.

    https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regulations/Regulation-PDFs/WYFISHINGREGS_BROCHURE.pdf

    Glad to hear you're not relying on wild foods for dinner, I've known a lot of people that lost crazy weight on that style of trip.

    Depending on the timing of runoff, there may not be much in the way of fish in the upper stretches of some of the streams you will encounter. Lake fishing should be good once the ice comes off. You may want to talk to a fish biologist on Jackson to gain some insights on whether it will be worth it to haul the fishing gear in. (307-733-2321). A buddy of mine ( a professional fly fishing guide in CO) brought his gear into Yellowstone's back country late fall and most of the trout had migrated out to bigger water. He didn't see a fish in 4 days.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  3. Kmatjhwy

    Kmatjhwy Wilderness Wanderer

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Jackson, Wy.
    Hi Brian, Now Outdoor Fool above is right. Hunting of small game here in the spring - early summer is prohibited. And in Wyoming this involves about all small game including Squirrels and Grouse. As for Trapping, a trapping permit can be had for mainly locals. But even here, about all of the trapping seasons is in the winter months and not not the summer.

    And as for fishing, you bet one can fish. Many of the people who go back to Hawks Rest in June, go back there for the good Cutthroat Trout fishing to be had there. I do believe in the fishing regulations that two fish are allowed each day. But of note, it might be difficult fishing also considering how the runoff looks like is going to be - huge and massive, with all the moving water will be chocolate and brown with the runoff.

    Personally when I hike, I take in a lot of mac and cheese, nuts, raisins, and jerky in my hike with rationing my food. Then use the edible and medicinal plants also. I have been using the edible and medicinal plants for years and years. But if you don't know the stuff, then I don't recommend it for there are some plants that can be killers.

    Now this is my plans also in going into this area in the spring - early summer. A Big Word Of Caution!!! Now with all the snow we are having this winter. And we just got clobbered with near two weeks of constant rain and snow with more expected. Right now we are wayyy wayyy wayyy above normal. In other years when this has happened - The Thorofare floods. Yes you heard me right .... The Thorofare Floods!!! This has happened with the Thorofare becoming Lake Thorofare with winters being similar to this. Think about this, it is a wild wild valley with no flood control features like happens in towns, cities, and many places in the country. In many many many of a normal year (again in a normal year) in both late May or June, or even into July ... the Yellowstone River will be up to the very top of the bank easily. Right now we are running above the snow levels that we received during the winter of 2010 to 2011. And in that year, 2011, July was like June with being nothing but a total total marsh. I myself am evaluating IF IF I will really make an effort to go on back in June IF it becomes a lake like I think it will be easily next spring. Just letting you know ... that if this continues like this with all the snow and moisture ... the only way one will be able to get across the Thorofare in later May or June will be by packraft. Yes only by packraft. You might want also considering the winter, to have some other plans on backup. If it continues like this ... my backup maybe will be to having extended stays like around the Soda Fork Meadows or up to the Bob Marshall Country in Montana which looks to be lots less snowpack for the summer. Already above Teton Village it is being over 400 inches recorded and more is forecast. It could easily become a record or near record snowfall winter by the time it is all said and done. Just am warning you.

    Also in 2011, after the huge huge runoff .... there were Absolutely Thousands and Thousands and Thousands of Mosquitoes at any onetime. It was the worst mosquito experience I have ever ever experienced with even more then anything I witnessed easily in Alaska the last few years. Think about it, the Thorofare is one big marsh, and with near record runoff and flooding, prime for big big big mosquito numbers.

    Wishing You the Best!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  4. Bob

    Bob Trailmaster

    Messages:
    1,892
    Location:
    NUtah
    Wyoming fishing permits can be purchased for certain days...... so the days you are not going to fish in the middle you dont spend the $
     
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  5. Absarokanaut

    Absarokanaut Member

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    436
    Kmathjhwy is right on the mark, she has the most experience back in the country of anyone I know that's not riding horses. I remember big snow left on Big Game Ridge halfway through July in 1976. Even in a normal year you chose the worst possible time to get back there.
     
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  6. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    Hello all!

    Thanks again for all of your sound advice and recommendations! Believe me...I'm fully aware by now of the snow pack(throughout the nation, as I've been partaking of some of the wonderful powder in the Colorado Rockies on the ski slopes!), and probability of high run-off this spring. I'll make adjustments to keep myself safe! I may just have to come a bit earlier to increase the likelihood of staying ahead of some of the runoff volume. I have no problems with the cold or snow..(on the contrary, the thought of snow hiking/camping is quite appealing, and I've done it before) :) The thorofare isn't a must for this trip, as my routes on my travels are never really"set in stone". It was just an appealing idea. I'm more than happy to stay higher and away from the thorofare delta region, and areas with high volumes of runoff moving through and hampering my ability to roam the wilderness.

    Additionally, thank you all as well for the hunting/fishing information. I'll throw my fly rod in the car, and monitor the conditions as the time approaches. Trout over a campfire would sure be nice...as an occasional alternative to the large amounts of trail mix that I consume on my hikes.

    Which begs another question:

    Is it safe to cook fish over a campfire (that is near my tent) in a manner as to not leave the scent in the pit? Of course I'll have pretty much everything minus what I'm sleeping in 100 meters away, downwind, and 12' up. I'd like to assume that I can cook the fish in a manner that the odor doesn't remain in the firepit, and thus not draw the mammals that possess 4" claws(amongst others..) to my sleeping quarters...ha ha...

    Best regards,

    Brian
     
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  7. Outdoor_Fool

    Outdoor_Fool Member

    Messages:
    490
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Cook the fish at least 100 meters from where you will be sleeping. Also down slope and down valley from your sleeping area, if possible, so the night downdrafts take the scents away from you.

    Also, currently the Madison Range and the Gallatins have below average snow packs. If that continues, both are great options for trips with all the scenery (and then some) of the park, nearly all the wildlife diversity, more moose than the park, fewer people, and fewer regulations/rangers. And you will still be in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
     
  8. Kmatjhwy

    Kmatjhwy Wilderness Wanderer

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Jackson, Wy.
    Now Brian, always in my hikes do always cook an evening meal. I never carry a stove so have a fire and cook the meal (usually mac and cheese) over the fire. I never have had problems with a bear or other wildlife. I have had numerous encounters with grizzlies thru the years. And in my opinion, most of the bears are just as afraid of you as you are afraid of them. They as much do not want a close encounter to you as you do not want a close encounter with them. I have woken up many a morning with grizzly tracks on the trail near the camp but I was safe and sound. Now days I personally trust grizzlies more then people anymore. I personally have never never been stabbed in the back by a grizzly. I have been bluff charged by a grizzly and have come around a corner and there is a mother grizzly with cubs, but am still safe and sound. But now days with our freaking society in such a huge huge mess, how many many times have I been stabbed in the back by various people with even former friends and dragged thru the mud for the most insignificant things. So again I trust the bears and the wildlife more then people. Just go with respect, keep a clean camp, and keep your eye out. The bears at least anymore have common sense it seems more then most people anymore in my opinion.

    Now a story from a time one in about Mid May at the Soda Fork Meadows. i was camped in here in the spring when all the snow was melting. The grizzlies and the wildlife were all around. And now every morning on the trail near camp were fresh grizzly tracks. But I did not have a single bad bear encounter or situation. I respected them and they respected me and my site. And every night I had my usual meal of mac and cheese which I cooked over the fire. Then after like 2 to 3 weeks or so went out for more food in town. In coming back in, camped at the same spot before heading in further. And after I arrived back, could very easily see that the local grizzly (grizzlies) had seriously investigated my site where I had camped after I had left for my resupply for there tracks were all over the place. So in short, here I cooked and camped for days, the bears knew I was there and I knew the bears were there. We had no close dangerous encounters. But after I had left for it was their home and they do know what is happening where they live, they investigated where I had camped. But again no problems. Again live in respect, keep a clean camp, keep a lookout and use your head, and you should be fine in my opinion. Hope this story helps.

    Now what Outdoor Fool said above makes good sense with if cooking a fish over a fire, maybe have it quite aways from your camp and you should be fine. Wishing You the Best!
     
  9. Jackson

    Jackson I like to go outside.

    Messages:
    947
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    x2. Truly beautiful peaks, lakes, and forest. Be just as bear aware though. Lots of grizzlies.
     
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  10. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    Thanks again to everyone! I'll continue to watch the weather, and monitor the spring runoff projections. I'm glad to hear that the Gallatin and Madison ranges are a good alternative, though I'll cling a bit longer to spending at least a few days in the soda fork meadows area. I've dissected some of the fishing regulations and printed them out to study, so I have a much better handle on what I can fish for and possess in the different regions...as they can very a bit from one valley to the next.

    As far as campfires go, it appears that I'll have a cooking pit, and an "ambience" pit near the tent...lol.

    All the best..

    Brian
     
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  11. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    I'm back again!

    Another question for ya..being that you know this area so very well. If I'm to come a bit earlier, say Mid-May, as opposed to June in order to possibly be there when the water levels are lower, how early is "too early"? I primarily ask this is because I don't want to come so early that I miss the wildlife (MOOSE, elk, and grizzlies) There are many beautiful places that I can go to camp and hike in this country, but the reason I've chosen to go to Northwest Wyoming this spring is to witness the wildlife of the Yellowstone region, and I'd be sorely dissapointed to come out too early, and miss the wildlife.

    In a nutshell, if you knew you had 10 days in May or June to be there to see wildlife, when would you put yourself in the soda fork meadows, and thorofare area?

    Thanks again!
     
  12. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    238
    When the roads and campgrounds are open would be critical. The park lists approximate opening dates for the roads, lodging and campgrounds.
    Wayne


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    238
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  14. Kmatjhwy

    Kmatjhwy Wilderness Wanderer

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Jackson, Wy.
    Brian, Hi Again! Now you were wondering about what time in May or June is it to visit the Soda Fork Meadows. Now in my opinion, in most years it is the later end of May and the very first days of June. I personally have been there as early as the beginning of May and as late in the year as late November. The wildlife show in a big way doesn't really start in the Soda Fork Meadows until the Elk show up in most years in mid to late May depending upon the snow. Then once the Elk are there, then there are the wolves and everything also. Also too early and it is nothing but snow. Then once into June at some point, then some horsepackers will start coming in, like early to mid June. But there is this time in late May with the very beginning of June in most years when it is Perfect. As for the wildlife, first there is the Moose with some staying all winter, then the Elk which come thru by the hundreds and hundreds, then the Deer. Once the deer show up, you know the country higher up has melted out more and time to press further into the wilds.

    The thing about getting to the Soda Fork Meadows in the spring is the snow that lays in the trees over the 7600 foot point between the trailhead and the Soda Fork Meadows. Right from the trailhead will be Clear Creek which at this time will be over knee deep. Then the trail goes up thru the trees to near 7600 feet. In good years the snow lasts till the near the end of May. You can guarantee that this will be the case this year. Then down across a wooded bench and the meadows at around 7400 feet. The grizzlies are always somewhere around the meadows. I have seen grizzlies in here, with close encounters, most months of the spring to fall. Some years ago a Wolf Pack denned up in the south part of the meadows that was away from the trails. They were always in or around the area. Several of these wolves from this Wolf Pack were shot in the last year that Wyoming permitted hunting of wolves in here.

    There is lots of dayhiking opportunities in here. Where one camps is in the upper part of the meadows, near where the North Fork of the Buffalo and the Soda Fork of the Buffalo meetup. One can dayhike for several miles south thru the meadows which is always an experience. Have had really close Grizzly Enounters in here. One can also dayhike up and over to the North Fork Meadows with later after the snow melts out, up and over to Clear Lake which I love, love, love. Nearby on the west side of the meadows is what I call Bear Mountain which can have bears, elk, or whatever. I have hiked to the top numerous times with utterly fabulous views.

    But for myself If I had to pick a certain time period, with including the snowpack this present winter, it would be late May with around the Memorial Day time period. It should be just greening up in the meadows, wildlife everywhere hanging out, and no one else (besides me) back in there. I personally am planning on probably heading back in somewhere in late May. Just maybe we could hike in together - who knows. Also continue to monitor what the weather does . Hope this answers your question. Wishing You the Best!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  15. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    Once again,

    You come back with invaluable information! I'll shoot for Late May!

    I'd been eyeballing clear lake that you'd described, and you confirmed my thought that it looked like a nice place to hike to and enjoy some time at. I'll certainly do a couple of day hikes North and South from that area, then traipse West a bit, towards the thorofare...how far being dependent on water levels, of course. ;)

    I'd certainly be up for a hike with you if the stars align correctly when I'm headed out there! I would definitely enjoy a hike in the wilderness with you, learning more about the area, and hearing of your travels!

    Best regards,

    Brian
     
  16. Absarokanaut

    Absarokanaut Member

    Messages:
    436
    Brian,

    Just to make sure you know the Thorofare is Northeast of Soda Fork Meadows or Clear Creek Lake, not West. With all due respect I'd forget about the Thorofare in your time period. Being on snowshoes and trying to cover great distance around hungry bears is not something I've ever liked too much.

    If you want to go up the Soda Fork the best option in my opinion is if it's not all flooded out to hike all the way into the Northfork and cross it in the area Kmatjhy mentions, avoding the need to cross much bigger water.

    Kmatjhwy has AWESOME photos of the Teton Wilderness and can share a link with you.

    May has always been my best month to see wildlife, especially if Spring is late and the bears, wolves, etc. are using the roads to travel. Along the Teton Front hiking can provide incredible days of bear, moose, otter, fox, elk, weasel, owls, all kinds of things. I often dayhike the Soda Fork and the Teton Front that time of year if you're interested. Conditions permitting I also sometimes do Bomber Basin then in the Northeastern Wind Rivers, about a 1:50 drive from Jackson

    Lastly we have been VERY warm with considerable valley rain. snow is set to return but winters simply don't seem to linger very often around here anymore. As Kmatjhwy says monitor the weather.
     
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  17. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    Greetings!

    Thanks for the input! Yes, I am aware that the thorofare is north and east of turpin, soda fork meadows, and yes, I have for the most part assumed that I will probably not make it up that way due to the deep runoff. :) I wasn't certain that I'd need snowshoes though at that time of the year. Along with studying the maps (topos, etc.) in that area (alot), I'm monitoring the weather, almost daily, as well as the flow levels (from the NOAA website) I would certainly not turn down a hiking partner for a dayhike, and am hoping if I'm lucky to get together with at least of couple of you that live in the area for hikes! I'll most certainly stay in contact with all of you.

    I'm certainly going to consider bringing snowshoes now though... Thanks!
     
  18. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    p.s. I DID see Kmatjhwy's photos....and yes... awesome!
     
  19. Brian Skibbe

    Brian Skibbe Member

    Messages:
    33
    p.s. p.s. lol... I just realized that I wrote that I'd go WEST towards the thorofare, not NORTH...ha ha... Now I realize why you wrote that!! :) :) :)
     
  20. Kmatjhwy

    Kmatjhwy Wilderness Wanderer

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Jackson, Wy.
    Brian, now just giving you an update on the local snow conditions. Here in this Jackson Hole country, it is being a winter where the snow just doesn't want to stop but keeps on going and going. I posted a reply in the winter snowpack thread, and thought I would post something here. If it keeps going like this, then in a good possibility going back to the Soda Fork Meadows in late May will be out unless one wants nothing but snow. Here locally up high, we are even beating the record year of 1996-97 up high now. And the wet spring is yet to come. Now up high above Teton Village, near 500 inches has been recorded (this morning at 494 inches) and the snow depth has passed over that 150 inch depth mark. Am beginning to think now to postpone the trip for myself (If I even do go) till early June maybe. See what the weather keeps on doing. But right now it is nothing but snow and more snow on a everyday basis especielly high up. Wishing You the Best!
     
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