The Big Wild Mammals You Might See When Visiting Montana

Montana is known for its wildlife. Among other species, it has quite a few big mammals. The large wild mammals shown here are all fairly common in Montana.

This is a large state; the fourth biggest in the US after Alaska, Texas, and California. The west part of the state is mostly mountains and river valleys and the eastern section of Montana is primarily prairies. There can be a substantial difference in what kind of big mammals a visitor is likely to see, depending on what part of the state they go to. However, virtually all of the animals listed here are found in the mountainous western part of the state and fewer of them are found in the east.

If a visitor is observant and takes the time, it is likely that they will see one or more of these creatures, especially in the summertime. It is even quite possible that if they visit western Montana, they may see all of them. Which of these would you like to see in the wild?

Rocky Mountain Goat

This is a creature of the high country. It is capable of climbing up an apparently sheer rock face with ease. These creatures are sometimes seen in lower country when they are moving from one place to another, but the best place to see them in the state is Glacier National Park.


Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, is the largest cat in the state. Along with bears, they are the apex predators and are capable of bringing down a deer or elk. However, they are more apt to dine on rabbits or hares.

These cats aren't often seen but it isn't because there are so few of them. Rather, they are somewhat shy of humans and they have coloration that allows them to blend in so well with their surroundings that a person is often not even aware of the cougar, though it might be less than 100 feet away.


Moose are the largest species of deer. It is quite common for an adult bull to weigh in excess of 1,000 pounds and it can stand over six feet at the shoulder. This makes it the second largest land animal in North America, surpassed only by the bison.

Much of time, moose can be seen in lakes, ponds, and rivers. It is adapted to cold temperatures and can die of the heat if the temperatures get much above 70 F. It is surprisingly fast and can slip through the forest so quietly that it is amazing, for such a large animal.


Although there aren't many wild American bison left, they still exist in Montana. This is the largest land animal in North America. The wild bison herds are mostly found in Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and on the National Bison Range in Northwest Montana. Seeing these huge creatures is a particular thrill.

Mule Deer and White Tailed Deer

There are probably no large wild mammals in Montana that have a greater population than deer. Both mule deer and white-tailed deer live in the state, though mule deer are found in the greatest number. The deer are so common that they are even found in downtown areas of the largest towns in the state.

If you visit Montana, these are some of the big mammals you might see, provided you are observant. They are found in large enough numbers that the total number of individuals shown here easily exceeds the number of people who live in the state. It is no wonder that Montana is known for the wildlife.


What do you think?


Written by Rex Trulove

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