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Old 07-13-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
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Yellowstone info

We are headed to Yellowstone in August. First time for us. Is it worth it to take a spotting scope?
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
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Yes, take the scope. See my thread "Yellowstone and Blackhills" for places where we saw wildlife this past week.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:04 AM   #3
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One of the things I like about RVing is the option of taking all the extra 'necessities' along for the ride.

We take TWO spotting scopes with tripods. Also you should look into a tripod widow mount so you can pull over to the side an get a scope on a bear without leaving the safety of your car.
Cabela's Window Mount : Cabela's

We also take a pair of binocs for each person.

My son also has a device that allows him to attach his camera to the scope giving him a 1500mm lens. He has also mastered putting his iphone up to the eye piece and taking a picture that way too.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:00 AM   #4
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There aren't a lot of places where a scope is more useful. We have uses one to observe wolves and both species of bear. While camped at Yellowstone's Pebble Creek camp ground, we used our spotting scope to watch mountain goats right from our camp site. At the second observation point (I can't remember the name) along the north rim of Yellowstone Canyon, you can look down into an active osprey nest.

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:21 AM   #5
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I've led groups into YNP and GTNP for 20 years. We always packed scopes in our vans. Whenever we'd set up our 4, not only our group of 40 would line up, but others would get in line to look. Always cracked me up. We considered it good publicity for the University and always explained what we were doing.

Make sure you walk a few trails. It's amazing how as crowded as the parks are each summer, a 100 yards down a trail gets you away from 98% of the visitors. Most people don't go out of sight of there vehicle, if you do, the park is yours to enjoy!
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:57 PM   #6
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Great! Now I need to purchase one. Recommendations ?
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Depends on how much you want to spend!

They go from $50 to $5,000.

We have Nikon Fieldscopes.

If you want to get something descent for less try Craigslist entry that is close to Harrisburg:

Simmons Spotting Scope (20-60x60mm, Black)

Offer them <$50 and you have a good starter unit. You can also buy this unit new for about $90 on Amazon.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejm4 View Post
Great! Now I need to purchase one. Recommendations ?
One of the decisions you need to make is straight through or 45 viewing. My preference is the 45 viewing. It takes a little getting used to, but has some nice advantages. You don't need to get it as high up with the tripid, so it tends to be more stable and a lot more comfortable, especially if being shared by people of differing height, or if viewing birds up in a tree.

Astronomics (in Norman, OK) generally has somr of the best prices around. They also have tons of great info, including am article on how to pick a spotting scope. https://www.astronomics.com/how-to-pick-a-spotting-scope_t.aspx.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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I went ahead a purchased a Nikon scope with the angled viewfinder.

We will be entering the park thru the Tetons and the South end, any suggestions?
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:47 PM   #10
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If you want to see bison, when you come north from out of Jackson and just past the intersection at Moose, turn right on Antelope Flats Rd. at the north end of Blacktail Butte. A bison herd is often on either side of the road about 1/2 mile or so down that road. The movie set for the movie Shane was also on that road, but it burned down in a prairie fire a number of years ago. When on the road to YNP after Moran Junction, a pull out called Ox Bow Lake is a good place to try your scope on bald eagles, white pelicans, and swans.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:57 PM   #11
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We had a guide and he took us to see an active Golden Eagles nest on the NE entrance road.

You can also see pelicans on the Y'stone river in Hayden Valley and Clark's Nutcrackers at the higher elevations.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:43 PM   #12
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We just spent a few days there and there isn't a lot of wildlife around at this time of year unless you can get out of bed at 4am.

We saw quite a few small animals, some birdlife, elk and 2 bison - but no bear. Found their footprints but no animals.

It's still a beautiful place to visit, just be prepared to drive long distances.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by steveclv View Post
We just spent a few days there and there isn't a lot of wildlife around at this time of year unless you can get out of bed at 4am.

We saw quite a few small animals, some birdlife, elk and 2 bison - but no bear. Found their footprints but no animals.

It's still a beautiful place to visit, just be prepared to drive long distances.
I've been taking groups into YNP every year for more than 20 years. You have to know were to look and be patient. Willows along streams, ponds, and wet lands are the habitat of moose. A herd of elk spend the summer around Mammoth. In addition, if you hike behind the Mammoth Hotel up the hill you'll find antelope, coyotes, and the elk. If you take a hike up Mt. Washburn I've always seen big horn sheep. Lamar Valley is home to wolves, elk, bison, bears, coyotes, and more. Hayden Valley has hundreds of bison to view. Near Canyon are the 'Old men of the meadow' large buck elk with fantastic antlers. Bison and bears are often spotted near Artist's Point and Upper Falls.

I can't remember ever spending a day without seeing some BHMs. (Big Hairy Mammals)
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