Wildlife photographer and YouTuber BE Judson captures amazing footage from Yellowstone National Park regularly, posting the extremely close-up videos on YouTube. They’re a sight to see, probably the closest some will get to these animals, if they’re lucky and don’t turn a corner on a trail to see a grizzly staring at them.
Three days ago, Judson posted a video that showcases a smorgasbord of wildlife; grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, and owls, all seemingly in one day. The video begins with a black wolf lapping at a watering hole, drinking its fill before loping off. The next animal is a coyote munching away on a carcass. Next, two grizzlies hanging out on some fallen trees. Then, a wolf pack zeroing in on a carcass. Lastly, a scene of a huge great grey owl diving from a tree for a snack.
Judson explained where he saw the wildlife after someone asked if he’d seen them all on a hike, KGAB reports: “From ridge at Fountain Flats hiker trailhead, just one hundred yards from the trail where birds of prey were circling overhead,” he replied. “Behind the ridge is a large basin of springs. Wolves had been trying to break through traffic all day to get to the location and even after dark most were east of the road in a meadow. Big wolf jam there. The carcass was a mile west of the highway.”
It’s Elk Rut Season in Yellowstone National Park
BE Judson has also been posting videos recently of elk fighting, “bugling”, and generally doing the things they do during rut season. From late August to October, it’s mating season for elk. According to Estes National Park in Colorado, there are 5 things to look for during elk rut season.
Bull elks will gather cows and calves into harems, and will coat themselves in mud and urine in order to attract the female elk. Male elk will also bugle to attract mates, which is a loud sound that carries with it the individual elements of the elk; females can tell how large and old a male is just by the sound of their bugle. They also rub their antlers against trees and other foliage, to get them ready for the fights they’re going to have with other bull elk. Bulls that are equal in size will likely fight each other for their harems; they lock antlers and shove against each other to prove who the strongest elk is.
When female elk go into heat, called estrus, they only have 24 hours to mate before their cycle ends; another doesn’t begin for 20 days, but they can have up to 4 cycles during mating season.
When in the parks during mating season, it’s important to be on your guard; look all you want, but the bull elk get more aggressive during this time. Stay a safe distance from the animals, and respect their space.