Actions Taken to Protect People & Moose in Gros Ventre Campground

Moose occupy the lush riparian habitat of the Gros Ventre River which includes portions of the Gros Ventre campground.

file photo by Grand Teton National Park

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News Release Date: September 24, 2014

Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Grand Teton National Park rangers will implement several actions to protect both people and moose in the Gros Ventre campground. The area will be posted with signs urging people to keep their distance from moose, camping will be consolidated within a few campground loops, and rangers will step up patrols to protect campers, wildlife viewers and several moose that are currently using campground areas during their fall rut (mating time). These actions became necessary after numerous human-wildlife interactions resulted in property damage, people getting charged by a bull moose, and the untimely death of a female moose this morning when she nearly severed her hind leg on a fire grate while fleeing both people and a bull that was pursuing her.

Park rangers were forced to euthanize the cow moose due to the severity of her leg injury. Her calf was not injured during the commotion. While moose calves orphaned at this age can survive on their own, their probability of survival is somewhat reduced.

Although the behavior of a single bull moose during its mating season was a contributing factor in the ill-fated death of the female moose this morning, the concentration of people approaching and crowding around these animals has caused them to become overly agitated and consequently a safety concern. When provoked, bull moose and other animals will sometimes charge. Recent reports indicate that people have been charged by moose on numerous occasions throughout the Gros Ventre campground, as a result of their close approach.

Wildlife viewing is a favorite activity in Grand Teton National Park, especially during the fall when animals exhibit interesting seasonal behavior. Because many people have approached wildlife too closely in their attempt to photograph a particular animal(s), park rangers will step up their patrols, including the use of 'plain clothes' patrols, and cite anyone who does not maintain the appropriate distance. Park regulations state that people must keep a distance of 25 yards from moose and 100 yards from bears—and may not harass or alter the behavior of wildlife, regardless of distance. While 25 yards is the minimum distance to maintain from moose, rangers recommend staying at least 100 yards away from bull moose during the rut.

Park biologists also remind all visitors that fall is a stressful time when wildlife must preserve energy to survive the winter. Allowing wildlife the space they require for both seasonal movements and activities is especially important this time of year.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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