Snowmobiling Near Wild Animals

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  • The West Yellowstone area is unique because snowmobilers often have close encounters with wild animals (including large moose, bison, and elk) both inside Yellowstone Park and in National Forests adjoining it.

    Here are some guidelines to ensure your personal safety:

    Always give wildlife plenty of space. They have to preserve their own resources to survive winter. Even a small disturbance that causes them to run may deplete energy reserves critical for survival.

    Observe animals from a safe distance. Use binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto camera lenses.

    If bison or other wildlife are on the road, stop at least 25 yards away and/or pull your machine as far as possible to the opposite side of the road. Always give animals a chance to move off the road.

    Stay seated on your snowmobile and continue moving at a steady pace if possible. Stopping or getting off of your sled is more likely to disturb wildlife.

    Do not make sudden or erratic movements; use groomed pullouts where possible. Do not chase animals or cause them to stampede.

    If the animal appears agitated, do not attempt to pass or you may cause the animal to charge. If animals run toward you, and you can confidently turn around, do so, moving to a safe place to reassess the situation. If you cannot turn around, get off your machine and stand to the side of it.

    Respect closures or restrictions.