See Incredibly Rare Footage of A Bear Fighting A Bison At Yellowstone

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful and wild places in North America. It has some of the most beautiful scenery, but it is also home to some of the region’s most deadly animals. In a recent video, we see how wild it can get in Yellowstone, even in a spot as “unwild” as an asphalt road.

Watch the Heart-Stopping Video Below!

In a video filmed about a year ago, we get a chance to see two of nature’s powerhouse animals in a duel to the death. The fighters? A fully grown grizzly bear and a juvenile American bison. As we are about to see, the duel is a lot more evenly matched than you might expect it to be!

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States and is situated in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park spans 3,468 square miles and is home to the highest-elevation lake in the United States and the largest supervolcano on the continent. It’s safe to say that everything in Yellowstone is big or record-setting!

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Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly bears grow up to 800 pounds and are the biggest predator in Yellowstone National Park.

©Jilll Richardson/Shutterstock.com

As seen in the video, two of the largest animals that can be found in the park are the grizzly bear and the American bison. The grizzly bear is the largest predator in the park, with adult males regularly growing between 400 and 800 lbs. While grizzlies are big, they aren’t the largest animals in the park. That honor belongs to the American bison. The bison is the largest terrestrial animal in North America by weight (only the moose is taller), with adults regularly growing between 700 and 2,600 lbs.

The video of the battle begins while a family is recording a clip of a juvenile bison grazing with its family. Suddenly, a bear bursts from the side and jumps on the bison’s back. Generally, an adult grizzly wouldn’t be able to take down a healthy adult bison alone. As the video shows, the grizzly was quite smart in choosing a smaller, weaker member of the herd. Still, it’s going to be quite a fight!

Bison herd in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is home to one of the first reintroduced bison herds.

©iStock.com/Betty4240

Leaping on the bison’s back, the bear begins to slash and bite at the young animal. From the outset, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a tough battle for the bear. Still, the bison isn’t going down, despite the hundreds of pounds of bear on its back!

At one point, the bison breaks free of the bear and even tries to charge it over and over. In retreat, the bear backs up and patiently waits for the bison to turn away. It doesn’t have to wait long. With a quick video cut, the bear is back on top of the small bison and tearing away at the exposed back muscles.

Incredibly, the bison makes a final effort to free itself from the bear and walks into the nearby river. Soon, the current takes them both, and they drift downstream with the bear still hanging on tight. As they continue to fight in the water, the cameraman films clips of large tufts of fur on the ground from the monumental struggle.

Although it isn’t shown in the video, the ultimate winner of the fight turns out to be the region’s apex predator: the brown bear. It was a tough struggle, but it looks like teeth and claws win against weight and determination! Nature is a truly wild place.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tim Malek/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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