Watch a Massive Bison Charge a Grizzly in a Showdown of Yellowstone’s Heavyweights

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Written by Chris Madden

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Bison buffalo grazing in the Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma
© angie oxley/Shutterstock.com

Bison Runs Straight Towards a Grizzly Bear in the Shadow of a Grassy Hill

In the heart of Yellowstone National Park, the eye-catching video below opens with a breathtaking sight: a colossal bison gracefully sauntering around the gentle curve of a lush hillside, adorned with bushes. This idyllic setting lays the stage for a riveting encounter about to unfold.

As the bison rounds the corner of the hill behind it, its keen eyes fixate on an unwelcome presence in the distance. A massive grizzly bear, unperturbed and unsuspecting, lounges in the tranquil setting. But patience is not a virtue for the bison, it would rather get right to the action. Especially when it comes to potential threats to its calves and fellow herd members. 

The bison continues to walk around the base of the hill, making its way directly toward the grizzly bear with a honed-in focus. As it gets closer, the grizzly bear begins to focus on the bison. It recognizes this huge herbivore could absolutely pose a lethal threat.

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Yellowstone grizzly bears can be at their most dangerous when they first emerge from hibernation.

Yellowstone

grizzly bears can be at their most dangerous when they first emerge from hibernation.

©Paul Knowles/Shutterstock.com

Without hesitation, the bear decides to evade the looming confrontation. Darting up the hill in the background, the bison, fueled by determination, accelerates into a full-throttle sprint, relentlessly pursuing the fleeing grizzly.

The chase continues. Both creatures ascend the hillside in a thrilling pursuit. Until a decisive moment arrives. The bison veers in a different direction, vanishing behind a ridge, while the burly grizzly bear escapes to safety. This captivating encounter on the verdant hillside reminds us of the untamed beauty and raw power of the natural world.

What Sort of Predators Come After Bison?

Bison face a range of predators, each with its own distinctive hunting strategies. Grizzly bears stand out as prominent adversaries among these. When confronted by a grizzly bear, bison often react with fearless determination, ready to confront and chase off the imposing threat. However, grizzly bears are not the only menace; wolves also pose a significant challenge to bison herds. Wolves rely on their pack coordination and stamina to wear down the bison. Solitary wolves may find it challenging to take down fully grown bison due to their size and strength. Instead, packs of wolves employ strategic cooperation and persistence, working together to isolate and exhaust their prey. This diversity of predators and their distinct hunting tactics keep bison constantly alert and adaptive, forcing them to stay vigilant to thrive in their dynamic ecosystems.

Is it Normal for Bison to Charge Head First at Their Predators?

Yellowstone National Park, Madison River Valley, American Bison Herd, Wyoming

If bison see a grizzly bear around their young, they are sure to run the predators out of the area!

©Gjeterhund Photography/Shutterstock.com

Bison, formidable giants of the grasslands, typically react to predators with a mix of caution and aggression. As seen in the gripping video below, bison exhibit fearless resolve when confronted with a grizzly bear. This behavior is typically normal only in certain situations. It is a common defense mechanism that they will employ to confront and chase off a perceived threat, especially when it endangers their calves and the herd.

However, the bison’s response to wolves differs. When they spot a lone wolf or a pack, they prioritize evasion over confrontation. Bison are agile and can sprint when necessary, making them adept at outrunning their wolf adversaries. Their strategy generally involves keeping a safe distance and avoiding unnecessary risk.

In essence, while bison display remarkable courage with grizzly bears, their approach changes with wolves. When facing wolves, bison favor flight over fight. They rely on their speed and endurance to maintain their advantage and safeguard their herd. A bison’s normal response is dependent on the predator and well as the situation at hand.


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About the Author

Chris is a lifelong animal lover with a passion for writing and a natural tendency to explore the internet in pursuit of new wildlife and nature facts! He is completing his Bachelors in Political Science at Concordia University in the Spring of 2024 after a science-centric high school career. Aside from studying and writing for A-Z Animals, he has a budding music career and enjoy spending time outside year-round, from swimming to skiing!

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