This video, captured by B.E. Judson, a retiree from Cody, Wyoming, shows a rarely seen battle between a mature bull elk and a grizzly bear. Ms. Judson, who captures videos primarily to share with her grandchildren, had been living in a tent since the end of May. September 18 was supposed to be her last day camping out and she was cruising slowly through the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park, looking and listening for bugling elk.
At 7:00 a.m. she saw a herd in a meadow and set up to try to shoot photos in the low light. Then suddenly she saw the bull in the video racing toward the river.
“I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know what startled him but I’ll have to video him if he’s going to swim to me,’” Judson told MeatEater. “And then you see the jerk on my video. ‘Oh my gosh, here comes a bear!’”
Judson said the bull elk had a puncture wound on its left flank, likely from a fight with another bull. Stronger in the water, the bear quickly catches up to the elk. The elk turns to fight with his hefty antlers, but the bear quickly outmaneuvers and gets its claws into the elk’s back. Perhaps due to the elk’s injury, the bear is able to get it off its feet and into the water, where it appears to drown while struggling against its assailant.
Once the elk is dead, the bear rolls and pushes it downstream until reaching the bank. The bear drags it ashore and photos from other sources show the bear burying the elk in mud and dirt.
Asked how she was able to capture this incredible sequence, Judson replied modestly: “It’s just knowing the park, loving the park.”
Video and image via BE Judson on YouTube.