Bull Moose in Madison River

Some visitors will have the opportunity to view a wild moose. The moose (Alces alces) is the largest member of the deer family with mature bulls weighing more than 1,000 pounds. The bull moose produce large palmate antlers which are shed annually. Although cow moose do not have antlers, both bulls and cows do have a bell which is a growth of skin and hair that hangs down from the throat. Calves are born in the spring and remain with the cow for a year. Cow moose will aggressively protect their young from any perceived threat.


Moose browse on twigs and leaves. Willows are an important food source, and moose also feed on submerged aquatic plants. Moose are dark in color ranging from brown to black. The moose also has long legs which are an adaptation to the thick marshes where it feeds and to a habitat that is covered by deep snow much of the year.

The moose is normally a reclusive animal. You are most likely to see one in the streams, marshes, and willow thickets along the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris. Moose may also be observed in the Fishing Bridge/Yellowstone Lake area, the Lamar Valley meadows, Hayden Valley, and along the east entrance road. Occasionally, they can be observed feeding or resting while partially submerged in water.

Yellowstone visitors should remember to never approach a moose. Though sluggish in appearance, they are fast. A cow moose protecting its young can be a very dangerous animal.

If you plan to visit Yellowstone National Park this year, keep an eye out for moose in the
areas listed above. If you do observe a moose, remember to keep a safe distance between
you and the animal. Never approach any wild animal as your personal safety and the welfare
of the animal may be threatened.

Where to find them

Look for moose among the willows in Willow Park, just south of Mammoth Hot Springs.
Another good area is just south of Canyon and the Lake area. On occassion they can be seen in the Madison and Firehole rivers. The east side of Lamar Valley is another good spot.