Predator and prey

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The dream scene was unfolding before us.

A black bear was ambling within sight of a Yellowstone road, nibbling at whatever caught its eye. In the distance, a bison was grazing comfortably on old grass.

An air of anticipation rippled through the photographers watching on the road as they realized that the two creatures might end up in the same football-sized area.

The bear kept moving steadily closer … the bison kept slowly eating its way into a clearing. By this time the onlookers couldn’t believe their good fortune, getting a ring-side seat to a confrontation between predator and prey.

When the bear got to within 50 yards of the bison, SUDDENLY … nothing happened. The bear walked by the bison as if it was just another tree stump. The bison didn’t even change its grazing speed.

The air of anticipation evapourated.

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Latest Comments

  1. saharkarami says:

    Fantastic wildlife shot!

    Like

  2. FeyGirl says:

    What a gorgeous creature… And heh, perhaps he was more interested in berries than bison that day?

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  3. mflahertyphoto says:

    Great shots of him Lyle. Can’t say I’m too surprised there wasn’t a confrontation, though I’m not sure exactly how close they were. I’ve been mostly totally ignored by grizzlies before, as they concentrated on sniffing out ground squirrels to dig for in AK. There is something about bison, small and large, that seems to dissuade even the most fearsome (except for the odd photog. who thinks they’re just big hairy cows).

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    • lylekrahn says:

      So true – especially the last humourous comment about big hairy cows. I imagine bison could do some serious damage if they set their mind to it. It’s nice animals don’t generally think of humans as food!

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  4. hannele says:

    Great pictures! I really like the story – it shows, again, that nature isn’t all about fighting and aggression. Most of the time, it’s worth just letting others be.

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    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. So true. We’ve probably all watched too many dramatic documentaries. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of letting others be as you say and scrounging for the easiest food.

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  5. melodylowes says:

    Your abrupt ending helps to bring us to that ring-seat tension – and then pouf! I’m surprised that the bison didn’t even blink. How interesting, to have seen it for yourself…

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  6. Phil Lanoue says:

    Any day you get to see an amazing animal like the bear is a good day regardless of what else does or does not happen.

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  7. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Love the photos of the beautiful bear. Even more, I love your thought-provoking “SUDDENLY – nothing happened.”

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  8. artsifrtsy says:

    Wow – great shots! I have had a bison almost enter my car. The bear was smart to give it a pass.

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  9. Sheldon says:

    This is no surprise to me as the black bear is not a true carnivore. They consume a wide variety of seasonally abundant herbs, forbs, fruits, berries, nuts, and other plant parts and products. Spring foods are predominantly grasses, sedges, shoots and other high-protein lush green vegetation. Deer and other carcasses may be scavenged, as well as leftover nuts. Skunk cabbage is important in Massachusetts and squaw root in the southern Appalachians. During summer months, bears shift to energy-rich foods such as huckleberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, and cherries. Protein-rich insects such as ants, wasps, and beetle larvae are usually consumed. Crayfish, frogs, birds’ eggs, mice, red squirrels, woodchucks, snowshoe hare, and other animal food are occasionally eaten. In autumn (where available), items including acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and similar foods are taken. Corn is also eaten where available. Amazing photos as per usual lyle and a great story keep up the good work 🙂

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    • lylekrahn says:

      That is an impressive listing of food. I must confess that I have never quite gotten over watching huge, powerful bears munching away on dandelions. It’s just not good to maintain their supposed vicious reputation if everyone knows they eat salads all the time:) Ah but we love the potential for drama.

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  10. Simone Lipscomb says:

    Us humans love drama thanks to the Discovery Channel…. 🙂

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  11. Marcia P says:

    Good work as usual. I’ve seen a video taken at Yellowstone in which a buffalo bull chased and treed a black bear. Depending on the size and sex of the buffalo, a black bear might be in for a beating…

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    • lylekrahn says:

      Given the buffalo’s size and it’s own weapons, that makes sense. Neither the bear nor the buffalo were particularly large so I assumed this was a draw before engaging.

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  12. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle,Really beautiful pictures.I wish you had taken a picture of the bison and the bear as they passed each other.Along time ago Jim corbett had taken a picture of a lamb looking up to a man eating tigress and the caption was by the tiger Saying ” Hey Kid I won’t harm you ” and the kid licking the tigress. ! Such is nature.As Sachem says ther is still hope for mankind. Regards, Ganesh.

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    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. That would have been good though they didn’t come that close and, of course, they don’t exactly pose for me while I adjust everything! You never what is going to happen next.

      Like

  13. sachemspeaks says:

    If they can share the land there may still be hope for Mankind? Na!

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  14. 23thorns says:

    Something similar happens out here. If a lion or leopard breaks cover, the prey animals are no longer afraid of it. Which sort of makes sense. The big cats’ main weapon is stealth, and once they have been spotted, they have been disarmed. That bear doesn’t exactly look like it was built for stealth, though…

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    • lylekrahn says:

      Not exactly! And given the bison’s large size and weapons of its own, the bear would be far more likely to go after young ones, if at all. I still find it odd to see bears eating vegetation.

      Like

  15. Coloured-Windows by katleenj says:

    lovely post, but to understand a bison and a bear stays difficult, did they have a session of mindfulness maybe? 😉

    Like

  16. Mike Powell says:

    Congratulations, Lyle, on your bear shots–they are beautiful (even if there was no confrontation).

    Like

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