A lot of novice backpackers think that once they are out in the wilds, there will be animals nearly everywhere. In Yellowstone’s world-class wildlife habitats, to a great extent, that’s true. But that does not necessarily mean that you’ll see lots of large mammals! That’s because once you leave the tourist-laden roadsides, wild animals revert to wild behavior, which means that in many situations they will avoid detection, something that they are very good at.
Of course, some large mammals such as moose and bison have little fear of humans, so they are easy to view and photograph if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. But most other large mammals show varying degrees of backcountry stealth and wariness, and though you’ll see lots of tracks and scat on the trail, that does not necessarily translate into seeing lots of big animals. The good news is that while backing in Yellowstone – or in other areas of wilderness that we visit – your Big Wild Adventures guide is an expert at finding critters and knowing where to look for them. You can also increase your wildlife-viewing odds by being reasonably quite at camp and on the trail, wearing earth-toned clothing that blends in with the natural environment, and keeping your eyes and ears open. For many of us, just knowing that these wild places and wild creatures exist is a wonderful antidote to civilization’s excesses. But with a little bit of care and a little bit of luck, your Yellowstone guided hike will also include some wonderful sightings of big animals in the big wilds.