Midwinter Snow Safari

Once you get a couple of inches of snow on the ground, it's time to change wildlife viewing tactics. Bundle up and take the family out to one of the many open state parks for a winter snow safari. Fewer campers often means more animal use on these areas.

Midwinter, with its short days and hard pack snows, create ideal tracking opportunities. Most snow stories can best be read during low light conditions when the sun is low on the horizon. Animals leave many clues as they forage leaving opportunities to read many stories in the snow.

Over here can be seen the faint brushes of the wings of a Great horned owl remaining after lifting its meal from a snowy burrow. Brown woody droppings resembling large gumdrops at the base of aspen trees identify that the porcupine has recently been in residence. Crossing over logs, you may notice the small round tracks left by bobcats. Bobcats will often use downed trees at the edge of swamps as hunting areas.

Snowshoe or cross-country skis can ease your movement through the snow. Tracking guides and a sketchpad will bring these "snow stories" to friends. Be sure and allow time to end your safari as the sun dips beneath the horizon.