Caitlyn Sheamus is an Outsider to her core. Not only is the NPS enthusiast ticking national parks off her bucket list, but she’s doing the same for viewing her favorite animals in the wild. And once her eyes met that favorite animal – a moose – grazing Grand Teton National Park – she could barely contain her joy.
“What did you see?” asks her boyfriend, Steve, as he films Caitlyn’s reaction.
“I saw a moose,” she spits out with a smile amidst crocodile tears. It’s a beautiful reminder of the joy nature brings us humans. And why we Outsiders should continue to do everything we can to protect it.
“Waited a long time to see a moose in the wild. Happened within hours of arriving to @grandtetonnps on our way to Jackson Hole,” Sheamus captions her original video on Instagram:
The video, since shared by several outlets, has gone viral. It was last May that Caitlyn and Steve drove from Michigan to tackle both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in hopes of grand adventures and, of course, a moose sighting or two.
“It was on my bucket list,” she tells FTW Outdoors of spotting her first moose in Grand Teton. Not a single Outsider is judging you for those tears, Caitlyn. This is what nature’s all about!
Always Practice Smart Moose Watching
Another wonderful aspect of Caitlyn’s moose encounter is her respect for responsible wildlife watching. While moose are majestic, they are immense mammals and can be extremely dangerous. Staying in your car like Caitlyn and Steve and using a pair of binoculars or the zoom lens of a camera is by far the safest way to view wildlife. Especially the large ungulates of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
As the National Park Service details, it is paramount that NPS visitors follow their wildlife viewing rules below. Injury or death can occur otherwise. And if you’re caught, expect steep fines or even jail time for doing so.
- Use binoculars, a spotting scope or long camera lens for close-up views and photographs.
- Maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from all other wildlife. Do not position yourself between an adult and its offspring; adults may attack.
- Never touch, pick up or disturb young. Mothers will sometimes leave their offspring temporarily while they search for food.
- If your actions cause an animal to flee, you are too close. You have also deprived other visitors of a viewing opportunity.
And as always, whether it’s a moose or a squirrel, do not feed or lure wild animals with food. This habituates wildlife to humans as a food source, which makes them far less likely to survive in the wild for a multitude of reasons.