Here in North America, brown bears are the largest predators across the majority of the continent. Only their northern polar bear cousins are larger, outweighing the already enormous 700 to 1,700-pound weight of a grizzly male. And when you’re that big, few things are off the menu.
In thriving ecosystems like Yellowstone National Park, the biggest of herbivores are prey for grizzlies in kind. Both black and brown bears hunt deer, elk, and even bison on a regular basis. But the hunt is never guaranteed. Bears either take down their prey or gives up trying. When they take home the kill, however, it’s a grizzly reminder (pun intended) of nature’s brutality.
Such is the case with this incredible Yellowstone footage courtesy of Tony Phan. Phan and his family managed to capture the entirety of this grizzly’s elk hunt from starting ambush to finishing slaughter, and it is fascinating. Be warned, however, that that finish to this hunt is not for the faint of heart:
And that’s to say nothing of the finishing grounds for this hunt: a populated Yellowstone campsite! Needless to say, if a grizzly ever wanders into a campsite you’re in, take to your vehicle or a solid shelter immediately. Tents are nothing but a snack wrapper to be peeled back by a bear, Outsiders.
Yellowstone National Park’s Grizzly Bears are as Wild as They Come
For our safety, Yellowstone park wildlife regulations require visitors to vacate any area where a grizzly bear is present. For large predators like bears and wolves, these regulations require a minimum of 100 yards distance.
The massive prey of bears are dangerous to us humans, too. Elk injure dozens of people each year, which is why park regulations require a minimum distance of 25 yards from all other wildlife, as well. This includes elk, deer, coyotes, and especially bison.
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to bison, too. This summer has been chock-full of bison incidents in Yellowstone National Park. Three hospitalizations from bison gorings occurred within a month’s time recently inside the park. And these are only the reported incidents. Many more have taken place off-record.
In short: If you’re traveling to Yellowstone, always be aware that you are entering a wild, teeming ecosystem full of megafauna. Yellowstone is not a theme park, and bears, bison, elk – you name it – are wild animals. It’s up to us to live the life of an Outsider and do our part in keeping wildlife wild.
Keep your distance, observe from afar, and bask in the glory that is Yellowstone National Park.