To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. -Theodore Roosevelt

Wildlife Caught on Camera - Volume 8

Tine and Tooth, Claw and Cowboy 

Welcome to Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. Just southeast of Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, the Boone and Crockett Club is conducting an experiment.  On the Club’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch, we’re running cattle alongside grizzly bears, wolves, elk, bobcats—the list goes on. The biggest threat to the operation, though, has been drought. Ranch managers and the Club are currently looking at innovative ways to cope, and we’ll have more details on that in the future. For now, let’s talk wildlife. 

The ranch has 33 active wildlife trail cameras set in key locations, and those cameras take thousands of shots every year. The job of sorting those photos falls to Ph.D. candidate and Boone and Crockett Fellow at the University of Montana Chris Hansen. These are just a few highlights from the cameras last year before the critters headed for their dens or the low country. Enjoy the show. 

Want to see more wildlife in action? Eight of the 10 images have video available!

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1 of 10—Elk (Cervus canadensis)

For much of the year, bull elk typically hang together for safety and security. When the elk rut kicks into gear, these fellas will be anything but friends as testosterone levels spike and the need to breed overwhelms their every sense of being. 


2 of 10—Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

This elk wallow in the middle of an aspen grove doubles as a watering hole for wandering grizzlies and moose (see slide 10). Considering that rutting bull elk bathe, pee, and roll around in a perfectly good mud hole, it’s no wonder that grizzlies could use a breath mint. 

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3 of 10—American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

Don’t let that cute swagger fool you into petting it. While badgers prefer to keep to themselves, they are downright nasty when threatened. Their necks consist of pure muscle and loose fur, which means if a predator tries to clamp down, badgers have enough room to unleash their hellish fury. If that doesn’t work, badgers release a powerful musk that is just as nasty as its disposition. 

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4 of 10—Cowboys (Taurus giddyupem)

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch is a wild place, but that doesn’t mean humans aren’t a part of the landscape. It’s a working cattle ranch, where these cowboys fix fences, herd cows, and do a hundred other things that cowboys do on the range. 


5 of 10—Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

As the snow flies, on a cold and grey Montana morning, another grizzly bear sniffs the air for some carrion…and his stomach growled. (Now sing this caption using your best Elvis voice.) 

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6 of 10—Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

A very nice mature mule deer is right on the cusp of starting the rut. Until mid-November rolls around, a big buck like this will move only at night. Once their testosterone levels start to rise, they get lovestruck and lose any good sense they have.


7 of 10—Moose (Alces alces) 

Like strolling through the buffet line and sampling everything under the glass, moose will browse just about anything. With that much snow in early November, those long legs help it move through the snow to avoid those critters found on the next slide. 

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8 of 10—Wolf (Canis lupus)

A lone wolf makes its way through the ranch in the early evening. Packs of wolves are certainly capable of taking down a mature moose or bison, but this loner is more likely looking for a rabbit or rodent. 

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9 of 10—Elk (Cervus canadensis)

A herd of cow elk and young bulls cruises through the open early in the morning. At the very end, watch as the herd bull brings up the rear. 

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10 of 10—Moose (Alces alces) 

This is the same watering hole we featured in Slide 2. Chances are every large ungulate and predator on the ranch knows about this puddle, though they do their best to spread out their visits. 

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All images and associated video © 2021-2022 The University of Montana

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt