Yellowstone Valley Zoo: The Final Installment–Elk, Moose, Eagles, and more


A moose enjoys his lunch in the serene Lamar Valley.  There were three moose traveling together this day.  But this one came closest to the car.



This is the final Yellowstone Valley Zoo blog.  This series’ three previous blogs showcased photos I’d taken after my move from Pennsylvania to Montana in October 2014.  These blogs have highlighted bighorn sheep, bison, and pronghorn–all found along the roads within a short drive from Sweetwater Fly Shop:  Areas near, or in, Paradise Valley, Livingston, Gardiner, and the northern gate to Yellowstone National Park.

Today I’m focusing on some of the other critters I’ve found along these same routes.  Again, a few of these photos were taken with cameras, others with just my cell phone.  It’s the diversity of the region’s wildlife that’s amazing…not necessarily my pics.  You can click on the photos to make them larger.




Bald eagles feasting on bison entrails left by Native American hunters just outside Yellowstone Park.  Make sure you click on the photo to check out all the birds in the tree behind the eagle in the foreground.




A nice mule deer buck walks the field beside the southern entrance to East River Road off of Route 89.  This was post-hunting season, so he’ll be bigger next year.





A coyote feasts on an elk carcass in the Lamar Valley.  He was playing tug-of-war with the scraps like a German Shepard with a rope.




A couple Merriam’s turkeys near walk the road near Pine Creek.  I’d only seen eastern turkeys in Pennsylvania, so these were my first Merriam’s.  I was happy to shoot a picture with my cell phone, but they didn’t seem to care that I was even there.





A small bull elk near Mammoth Hot Springs.  There are almost always elk near Mammoth.  They occasionally try to gore uneducated tourists who attempt to pet them.



A cow elk grazes on the edge of Gardiner, just outside the Park.  These are still wild, but very civilized, elk.  I recently watched a cow wait for traffic to slow so she could cross the bridge in Gardner.  She was better at crossing the street than most kindergarteners.



For some reason, I felt like I was being watched on Christmas Eve morning along East River Road in Paradise Valley.



Then the elk herd moved in for a closer look.



Then they made me slam on my brakes as they tripped into each other in front of my SUV.



Finally, these were my first two Montana Hungarian partridges: a double taken by my old Parker VHE side-by-side shotgun (one bird in my hand, one in Reed’s mouth).  The partridges, found in Paradise Valley, were pointed and retrieved by my friend Jason Corbin’s amazing dogs, Reed and Ruger.  And though the birds are the only creatures in my photos not still alive (as far as I know), I have no regrets…they were delicious!  Just like the moose in the first picture, I enjoy a nice lunch too.


That’s all for now from the Yellowstone Valley Zoo.  Next week I guess I’ll talk about fishing.  Thanks for reading!

Guide School Chronicles – Part 2

Gotta love Montana Spring fishing! The weather can sometimes make you doubt your sanity. But the fishing doesn’t always suffer as much as your hands and feet do.

Braving the Elements








The Payoff





Guide School Chronicles – Part 1

I spent last week hanging out with 11 other guide wannabes at Sweetwater Travel’s guide school. It was an enlightening, and sometimes humbling, experience. The school was held down on the lower Yellowstone River, near Big Timber. It was a blast to hang out with a group of fellow fly fishing crazies; their passion and enthusiasm for fishing was inspiring. So was their passion and enthusiasm for drinking beer. Those youngsters, and even the one student who was older than myself, made me wish I held stock in the major beer manufacturers. To my fellow students, I apologize for being a bit of a curmudgeon. Us old guys get a little cranky when we’re woken from our sweet dreams.

I had a few flashbacks to my summer camp days. Awkward conversations with your roomie. Uncertain relations with the camp counselors (instructors). The exchanges of contact information and promises to keep in touch. The pang of loss when it’s all over. We didn’t make any God’s Eyes, nor did we go horseback riding, but a snowman was constructed.

More to come, and hopefully some pictures…


Japanese Itou

As we look forward to our upcoming Mongolia  Taimen season starting in September it is great to know that someone has been skating flies for these monsters.  Thanks to Mark Weeks for sharing this awesome skater caught Itou from Hokkaido Japan.  In classic fashion Mark (the world’s greatest guide client)  rose this monster three times only to leave town and allow his guide to catch him the next day.  You’re the man Mark!

Thanks for the photos Mark and see you in Mongolia!

Caption Contest

At Sweetwater Travel we expect excellence out of all our workers.  That is why we were so excited to have Pete Eaves (confidential supplier of all the dirt on Scotty Schumacher) available to open the lodges in Alaska.  Way to go Pete and we’ll see you at the Murray!

If any one can figure out what Pete is dreaming about you get 12 crappy flies from the Sweetwater Fly Shop.

Fort Peck Sees Record Flows

Caption Contest Winners!

Ok we have had some great feed back on the photos that have been on Sweaty Waders for our Caption Contests. Now we will announce the winners to the last three photos.  Hey winners come pick up your crappy flies and keep the shots coming people!

Item #1:

Thanks for all the captions for this great shot of Sweetcheeks Wilson. And the winner is Mr. Powdarippa his ownself!

Brown Trout? Rosie said these were whitefish!
By Powdarippa

Item #2:

Thanks again Peter Eaves for the confidential photo of Scotty “little hands” Shumaker. Congratulations Mary A for the victory and the great caption.  Get your 12 Crappy flies, I think you know where they are.

That explains the high voice…

By Mary A

Item #3:

The last winner was also one of the caption subjects.  Congratulations Sweetcheeks for the great caption of Brenden Hertz.  Oh by the way Cheeks…….you may not want to ask Marya for your Crappy flies!


By Cheeks

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