Animals A-Go-Go

Moose in Wyoming

    Photo: Corel

Moose, the largest members of the deer family, are found all over the Northern Hemisphere, but if you want to see these gawky giants at their most majestic, head for the northwest corner of Wyoming. It's nearly impossible to appear anything but divine with the 13,000-foot Teton Range as a backdrop. Christian Lake, Willow Flats, Oxbow Bend, Inspiration Point, Antelope Flats—the names of moose hot spots in the Greater Yellowstone region, one of the last nearly intact temperate ecosystems in North America, read like cowboy poetry. Moose are not hard to find: Sometimes it's as simple as joining an "animal jam," a traffic snarl created by the sight of a roadside moose. More exciting, though, is an encounter away from pavement, on trails around the marshy fringes of cobalt-blue Colter Lake or in the wetlands along the Snake River where moose browse on willows and wade in shallow ponds to feed on aquatic plants. Remember, though, that moose are huge, powerful, fast—and often cranky. In late spring and summer, cow moose with young calves are very protective and will attack humans who come too close. During the fall mating season, in late September and October, bull moose, which can stand over six feet tall at the shoulder, weigh 1,600 pounds, and sport 50-pound racks of antlers (which can grow one inch per day and are shed yearly), may also be aggressive, especially toward people with cameras around their necks, waving their arms and hollering, "Hey, Bullwinkle!" Moose, after all, value their dignity.

WHAT ELSE YOU'LL SEE: Bison, elk, black bears, grizzly bears, coyotes, pronghorn antelope, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, ospreys, marmots, pikas, maybe wolves.

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