People Watching Season Starts for Yellowstone’s Wildlife


As the heat of summer begins to bear down on Yellowstone land, the roles of wildlife and visitors start to reverse. Spring brought photographers and tourists alike to the roads of Yellowstone as the bears and bison parade their new offspring for the world to see. Now that more people are actually here to look for Yellowstone’s famous wildlife, the clever animals retreat back into the forest to begin their people watching season.

Other than the stubborn bison, most animals become a rarity to see during the peak of tourist season. Staying just out of sight, most bears have a “birds” eye view of the crowds of tourists. On a cool, cloudy day they may come out to play, but for the most part they want nothing to do with the chaos.

It’s very likely the animals will see you admiring Old Faithful, but you’ll be lucky to see them. Hungry bears wait in the shadows to harass the unsuspecting hiker that forgot to carry bear spray.


These three grizzly bear cubs were just a few of the babies that the proud mothers wanted to show off. Photo by Trent Sizemore Photography.

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Some of the more passionate people watching bears don their best camera gear to compete in the bears’ annual “touron” photo contest. Every spring, thousands of dollars worth of photographers’ gear is confiscated by bears when not locked in a bear-proof container. Winners of the contest get rights to feed at the best campsites in the fall to fill up on tourists before another hibernation.

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A mother grizzly showing the ropes of tourist photography to a newborn cub.

Traveling to Yellowstone? You may want to grab a pair of these binoculars on Amazon!

The one exception to the summer wildlife hiatus is the bison. They are notorious for moving towards the crowds, staging for their summer attack plans. Studies have shown that bison can cause up to 85% of traffic jams in the park. They don’t care how many times you honk your horn, the road is theirs and they are going to take their sweet time.

Bison own the road. Photo by Trent Sizemore Photography.

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