LOOK: Grand Teton National Park Gives Intense Reminder to Keep Away From Moose

by Amy Myers
Photo credit KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImages

With so many reports of visitors approaching national park wildlife this summer, the Grand Tetons thought it best to elicit a crucial reminder to stay away from moose, especially while they’re in rut. 

On Instagram, the park shared a close-up of a giant bull, reminding folks that the only time you want to see a moose up close is through a camera lens at least 25 yards away.

“Moose are spectacular animals and incredible to see in the wild, but they are wild,” the park captioned the post. “This big boy has spent the summer growing out his antlers and packing on the pounds and he’s ready to challenge any rivals that stand in his way.”

Of course, the 25 yards is just a rough guide.

“If an animal is showing signs of distress, you’re too close,” the park explained. Though, really, if the animal notices you at all, it’s time to turn around.

Grand Teton National Park Moose Become More Vocal and Aggressive During Rut

The Grand Teton-Yellowstone greater area is home to about 800 moose, most of which reside in the southernmost national park. Males can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach up to seven feet at the shoulder, but still manage to slip silently through the pines and spruces.

As with many members of the Cervidae family, fall signifies the start of mating season, a time when males become more aggressive and both sexes become more vocal. For Grand Teton National Park tourists, this means that giving these animals space is more important than ever.

“During the rut, both bulls and cows are vocal: the cows may be heard grunting in search of a mate, and bulls challenge one another with low croaks before clashing with their antlers,” the national park explained. “A bull on the offensive tries to knock its opponent sideways. If such a move is successful, the challenger follows through with another thrust of its antlers. The weaker animal usually gives up before any serious damage is done; occasionally the opponent’s antlers inflict a mortal wound.”

This snapshot isn’t the only moose bull that Grand Teton National Park has shared lately. In another update on Instagram, another sizeable male stood his ground in an open field in front of the famed mountain peaks.

“The bigger and badder the moose, the better chance he has at finding a mate,” the national park said. “During the rut, male moose will often show off to or spar with other males in a bid to establish dominance.”