Yellowstone Pronghorn, Found in the Park’s North, Watch You Back

Pronghorn jumps

Pronghorn passes us on Specimen Ridge

You can only see pronghorn antelope in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park. That seems to be true with a lot of animals in the park, but it’s officially true with the pronghorn. In my trip I didn’t see any big herds, but got to meet a few charismatic individuals and see some small family groups once we were near Roosevelt.

What was striking about the animals was that they watched us with their huge dark eyes and even approached us. (A sign somebody may have fed them, perhaps?) We ran into one on Specimen Ridge. She kept walking down the trail towards us, eyes making contact all  the time. We chatted to her. She eventually veered to the side, but was comfortable close by. All the pronghorns we saw were engaged in the encounter, but not overly scared.

Friendly Pronghorn

Both sexes have horns, but only the boys’ horns sprout prongs or points. They’re native and endemic to the west (they’re from here and only here). They’re the only animal in the world to shed their horns each year, the National Parks Service says.

The most unfortunate thing about the pronghorn antelope another opportunity to tell you that you’ve gotten an animal’s name wrong. Just like the American buffalo isn’t really a buffalo, the pronghorn isn’t really an antelope under the current taxonomic regime, which requires antelopes have antlers that don’t shed.

The more serious problem is that the

Keep reading Yellowstone Pronghorn, Found in the Park’s North, Watch You Back


Visit Prairie Dogs Just Outside Yellowstone in Montana

Prairie Dog

When you actually go out to look, these husky-sized ground squirrels aren’t so easy to find. So, if you’re an easterner headed to Montana, check out the Greycliff Prairie Dog Town a couple hours outside Yellowstone National Park.

Keep reading Visit Prairie Dogs Just Outside Yellowstone in Montana

A Guide To Yellowstone Guides

To animal tourists, Yellowstone National Park is Mecca, with a Broadway show that also somehow includes the the U.S. Capitol. You have to go once; it’s spectacular, important, historical. But most Americans don’t ever get to go. If you do go, chances are you can’t stay as long as you’d like. So, even though it’s a wildlife wonderland, you may want to hire a guide so you don’t miss out.

Normally focuses on seeing animals close to where people live in cities and suburbs. Anybody can tell you there are a lot of bears in Alaska or Wyoming. (And too many guide books give that kind of impractical and expensive advice.) But since my husband and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone, I’m checking out all the options there and assembling a guide to the guides.

These guides are expensive. But these are the people that know Yellowstone wildlife intimately, professionally and may be able to save you from an afternoon hoping for a bear jam. If you’re only traveling with a couple people, the science centers seem ideal. The private tours are generally priced for groups of four to six, making them two to three times more expensive for couples.  I’m sure this chart will grow and I’d like to focus on each in depth.

Check out the chart of Yellowstone Guides

To see more animals go to

Keep reading A Guide To Yellowstone Guides

Montana Hunts Wolves–Along with Bison and Sandhill Crane

Montana will start hunting for the recovering wolf in two weeks–unless a judge steps in to stop it. The plan is to shoot 75 wolves, though by yesterday hunters had bought 9,000 permits, some just for a fun souvenir ($19 a pop.) Hunters are supposed to call in within 12 hours so Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks can call off the hunt.

That got us thinking about what other kinds of rules Montana has about hunting. Here’s a sampling that will give you how hunting trumps all other concerns.

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Roche

Go ahead and hunt wolf pups. While you are banned from hunting lactating mountain lions, you can shoot wolves born this year. “This means you can shoot any wolf you see including pups if you so choose,” notes You can’t bait wolves or use electronic calls, but you can use manual or old-fashioned ones (typically calls of prey animals.) You can’t use night vision or–unlike Alaska–an airplane. (Well, you can use it to spot them, but you can’t shoot them till the next day.) Also, you can dump the carcass in the field, but you have to bring back the head and “evidence of sex: males: testicles; females: vulva or mammaries.” They hunt bison. That’s right–the symbol of the west, the symbol of wasteful hunting. Apparently there was a reason for this rule: “It is unlawful to possess or transport the fetus or reproductive tissues of a bison away from the kill site.” Just as

Keep reading Montana Hunts Wolves–Along with Bison and Sandhill Crane