Many tourists come to Yellowstone National Park to see wildlife. On a recent visit, we didn't encounter any bear, but we did see plenty of bison, two bighorn sheep, and lots of elk. You would think that living in Montana we would get to see impressive wildlife every day. That's just not the case, for me anyway. I've lived here for the majority of my life and I've only seen two bears in the wild. Once, a couple of years ago outside of Red Lodge I saw a black bear as it wandered along the ridge about 200 yards from the highway. The other time was just a couple of weeks ago when my brother and I ran across a black bear meandering through his potato field north of Toston. I've only come across a moose once in the wild, in the Tobacco Roots. I'm not much of a hunter, but I know lots of hunters who get skunked looking for elk each year.

If you don't feel like braving the crowds in Yellowstone Park this year, there are other great places for viewing various wildlife in Montana, oftentimes in close proximity. From wolves and grizzly bears to prairie dogs and elk, here are some ideas to get you started on your wildlife encounter experiences.

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