Animals of Montana Winter Tour 2012

Brenda and I prefer to drive to our photo tour destinations. Three days gets us from Ontario to Montana. On this occasion we were joining a tour group of 8 enthusiastic and experienced photographers in late February in Bozeman Montana. The tour was scheduled for 3 days plus a fourth, optional ‘weather day’ where, each day, we photographed at least 4 wildlife model predators, big and small, North American, Asian and European subjects, in natural settings near Troy and Tracy Hyde’s ranch. This was the winter of 2012, unusual in that many areas of the continent were experiencing warmer than normal temperatures and less than normal snowfalls. Ordinarily I would welcome such conditions, having experienced many long brutal winters in Northern Ontario, where -30 is not uncommon. But, on this occasion we were worried. It was the ‘winter that never was’. There might not be sufficient snow. As we drove through Billings, our ennui increased as we encountered miles of brown terrain. Fortunately Bozeman, and the high areas around the Hyde ranch had plenty of snow. The weather was finally cooperating!

What followed were four days of exciting, intense, fun-filled animal photography. Grizzly bear brothers duking it out in a meadow. A pack of wolves running down a hill toward us. The snow leopard posing and charging in fresh, falling snow. The Siberian tiger charging toward us in a snowy field. Skunks, raccoons, foxes and fishers. And of course, Charley the cougar. Charley walking towards us. Charley charging towards us. Charley in our faces. Charley up a tree. There were bobcats and two species of lynx, all in pristine snow and natural surroundings. All handled expertly, with the utmost safety concerns, by Troy and his two capable assistants Dimitri and Ben. Motor drives chattered. Memory cards filled rapidly, even the big ones. Participants were able to receive instant feedback on their captures as they downloaded and displayed their pictures in Tracy and Troy’s living room.

Click on this link for a full set of selects. I will be leading a fall tour in October (5-8), where I expect we will have more great animal photography experiences in the Montana wilderness!

Animals of Montana

Animals of Montana is the business name for a wildlife model photography service run by Troy and Tracy Hyde. The wildlife centre is housed at Troy and Tracy’s ranch in the mountains near Bozeman Montana, on the road to Bridger Bowl Ski Area from downtown Bozeman.

Still photographers and videographers are able to book private, customized sessions alone or in small groups. In addition there are numerous group ‘photo tours’ offered either near the ranch or on location, as far abroad as Red Rock country in Utah.

In late February I will be joining a tour with emphasis on winter predators, featuring mammals such as wolf, grizzly, fisher, bobcat and small mammals along with some exotic species like Siberian tiger, snow leopard, and Barbary lion.


Troy is an expert animal trainer and the animals will be posed near you and made to behave in natural ways, including action shots like running and leaping. Joe and MaryAnn McDonald attest to Troy’s expertise and feel that this is the best wildlife model experience among several good ones from which to choose. Other pro wildlife photographers such as Dennis Fast feel the same. The experience is friendly, exciting and intense. You’ll wonder how those memory cards fill so quickly!

I like to combine a session at Animals of Montana with photography in Yellowstone, which is only about two hours from Bozeman.

For more information about pricing, dates, tours etc, please visit Troy and Tracy’s website .

Here is a selection of images from a Winter tour and a Baby Animals tour.