Grizzly Bear in Yellowstone National Park
It’s our very first morning in Yellowstone National Park, and we’re less than an hour into a 10.5 hour Yellowstone in a Day tour with Yellowstone National Park Lodges when one of our fellow passengers yells, “GRIZZLY”.
Jim, our tour guide, does a quick 180 with our small tour bus and parks in a small roadside parking area. There are 12 of us aboard and we all scramble, with cameras in hand, to see our first grizzly bear and hopefully capture a memorable photograph.
It is at this very moment, as I watch a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom episode (remember those shows when you were a kid) unfold before my very eyes that I begin to kick myself for not renting one of those 500mm Nikon lenses for our trip. Anyway, we’ll just have to live with a cropped photograph from my 18-200mm zoom.
Now, back to my story…
Twelve of us are lined up alongside the road as we watch this massive grizzly bear sniffing around a small herd of elk. We were all surprised that the elk didn’t head for the hills with this dangerous omnivore in such close proximity.
Our tour guide instructed us that there was very likely a newborn elk calf hidden away in this scene and that the mother elk would therefore be reluctant to leave.
Jim further shared that elk calves are typically born in late May through early June, are born spotted and scentless as camouflage from predators, and that they spend their first few weeks hiding motionless while their mothers feed.
Therefore, what we were witnessing was the grizzly bear hunting around for one of these scentless, helpless elk calves for breakfast.
Thankfully, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, this dramatic scene disappeared from our view after about 20 minutes and we were sparred a gruesome kill scene.
Nonetheless, how exciting it was to witness such a scene unfold before our very eyes.
Stay tuned, we have so much more to share from our visit to Yellowstone National Park.
Link: Yellowstone in a Day Tour
Disclosure: this incredible experience was provided by the kind folks at Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Thanks!
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Do you think that the grizzly made a kill? How did you know?
You know, we’re uncertain. With all of the elk present in the scene, it seems quite likely that there was a hidden calf, but after 20 minutes or so, our tour guide had to move us along.
Nonetheless, it was an amazing scene to witness.