Yellowstone Park Information
Wolf and Wildlife
Watching Etiquette Guidelines
Wildlife Viewing etiquette is sponsored
by the Yellowstone
Contributors to the guidelines listed below include Jason Wilson, Debbie Lineweaver,
Bill Wengeler, and Nathan Varley
Additional comments are mine alone----Kevin Sanders
RESPECT FOR WILDLIFE
Do not pursue or chase wildlife, whether by foot or in a vehicle. This includes moving your vehicle into a position that effectively "blocks" wolves, or other wildlife that are trying to cross a roadway. The regulars are seeing this more often than you might expect. Wolves, and other animals approaching the road are almost always looking to cross. Allow it to happen. Forcing an animal to move off or change their behavior is forbidden. Try to anticipate the movement of animals and stay out of their way!
Do not feed or touch wild animals. Feeding wildlife can lead to habituation of the animal to humans which in turn can result in the animal's injury or death. A habituated animal can also pose a threat to human safety. If you encounter an animal on the road, stay in your car. Often animals are afraid of people outside their car, but tolerate vehicles. Park regulations stipulate that wildlife may not be approached closer than a distance of 25 yards. For bears, the distance is 100 yards. Feeding ground squirrels, or birds is nearly as bad as feeding a bear. Resist the temptation, and nicely encourage others to follow your example.
Honor area closures. Do not walk into areas posted as closed. Most closures are temporary and created to allow wildlife to successfully breed and/or forage, and are well marked. Closed areas are small relative to the areas left open, so it is the least we can do to help the wildlife in question survive.
Do not disturb nests or dens. If you are aware of a sensitive location that is not closed, refrain from going there. Closures are not used in all cases where they may be needed to protect wildlife. Use your own good sense in avoiding disturbance in these situations.
Howling, hooting, or other attempts to get wildlife to respond is illegal. Do not howl at the wolves. Invariably, someone has the urge to try but never hear the wolves answer. These activities can disrupt the natural flow of wildlife habits. It can also be annoying to other visitors.
Drive slowly. Yellowstone Park speed limit is 45 mph or less, but frankly, 35 mph is fast enough if you want to spot wildlife. Plus, the chance of hitting an animal and causing its injury or death is reduced as you reduce your speed. This is particularly true at night, or near dusk and dawn. However, if you are traveling slower than those behind you, please pull over and let them pass.
Following close behind or right next to a walking bison on the road is actually more stressful on them than slowly driving by. Save the photo's for calm bison in a nice meadow.
Do not remove
anything from the park (rocks, flowers, antlers, etc.). With close
to 3 million visitors per year, removal of objects would damage
habitat. It is illegal and can lead to significant fines.