JACKSON, Wyo. — As suggested throughout the year, the safest way to view wildlife during the winter season is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope, or a pair of binoculars.

“Park animals are wild and dangerous – bison, bears, and elk have injured and killed people,” said Yellowstone National Park in a statement last week. “Do not approach, encircle, follow, or feed any animal. Be sure to stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and stay 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals.”

Photo: National Park Service

Moose and elk are relatively common throughout the Jackson Hole valley, but especially along the Snake River corridor and slopes of the Teton Range, including residential areas associated with the towns of Wilson, Teton Village and Jackson.

Photo: Buckrail Submission

The above photo submitted to Buckrail was captured on Dec. 4, 2021, in an area east of Grand Teton National Park. Photographers in this close of proximity to a Bull Moose (less than 25 yards) pose a threat to both wildlife and humans.

The following tips from the National Park Service will keep humans and animals safe when viewing wildlife:

  • Never approach or pursue an animal to take its picture: use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a better view
  • If an animal moves closer to you, back away to maintain a safe distance
  • If you cause an animal to move, you’re too close. It’s illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within any distance that disturbs or displaces the animal
  • Park in roadside pullouts when watching/photographing animals: do not block traffic
  • Stay in or next to your car when watching bears. If a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior
  • Watch wildlife safety videos from NPS that exhibit the power of large wild animals

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.