A Lucky Grizzly moose chases him near Wyoming…

A bull moose that was chased into a Montana campground by a grizzly bear was lucky the bear wasn't fully intent on turning him into a meal, the man who filmed the incident said.

“I think it was a little shy of the grizzly bear. I think the bear was looking for the moose to make a mistake, and when the moose ran away, the bear decided to chase it,” Wes Larson told Cowboy State Daily.

Larson filmed the action from inside his car as the moose, then the grizzly bear, ran right ahead.

He is a bear biologist who previously worked in Yellowstone National Park and still does independent biology work.

But his main role these days is co-hosting THE “Tooth and claw” podcast, covering animal attacks on humans around the world.

The bear ended up eating grass

Towards the end of the video, which Larson captured last month and which went viral this week, the two animals can be seen running down the exit road from the Soda Butte campground – the moose in the lead and the bear almost on his heels.

“Neither one is going all-out at this point,” Larson said, indicating a fight between the two was probably not imminent.

The moose escaped unharmed and the grizzly opted for a vegetarian option. Larson said he later saw him eating grass in a nearby field.

Soda Butte Campground is just a few miles from Yellowstone and about 10 miles from the Wyoming state line. In 2010, a grizzly bear attacked three people at this campground, killing and partially eating one.

Moose on the Grizzly menu

During the spring and early summer, grizzly bears just emerged from their winter dens are looking for any calories they can get.

Fresh, nutrient-rich green grass and herbaceous plants are on the menu. The carcasses of large game animals that die during the winter also provide a vital food source for bears.

Given the opportunity, grizzly bears gobble up newborn deer fawns, elk and moose calves. And sometimes grizzly bears stalk and kill adult animals.

Although rare, it is not unusual for a grizzly bear to take down an adult elk, Larson said. And the grizzly bear in the video was certainly big enough to do it.

“It was a good-sized bear, probably around 400 pounds, which is a good-sized bear for the Yellowstone ecosystem,” he said.

He couldn't determine the gender of the bear, but thinks it was likely an adult wild boar or a male grizzly bear.

The moose also appeared to be an adult animal, he added.

In the spring, bull moose could be a tempting target for grizzly bears, Larson said. Just out of winter, moose are generally thinner “and less muscular” than they are in the fall.

The bear likely followed the moose for a while, hoping the bull would trip and fall, get into a difficult situation or be at a disadvantage, he said.

Grizzly bears need to be smart when hunting moose as this carries a real risk to bears as moose can deliver shattering kicks.

Grizzlies use brute force

The different large predators of the Yellowstone country – mountain lions, wolves and grizzly bears – use different tactics.

A wolf pack will exhaust its prey by attacking the hindquarters. Mountain lions prefer ambush attacks and typically attack the neck, attempting to sever a prey's spine or crush its windpipe.

Grizzly bears use brute force, Larson said.

“Grizzly bears use their body weight on their prey,” he said. “Moose have a very high center of gravity with their long legs and large bodies. So a bear can use its weight and knock the moose down, and the moose will have a hard time getting back up.

Grizzly bears also like to attack when moose are in the water because it really puts the prey at a disadvantage, Larson added.

And even if the grizzly bear didn't eat moose that day, it will likely continue to feed on other food sources. Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone seem to be doing pretty well this year, he said.

“From what I’ve heard, it’s been a really good year for the Bears,” Larson said. “People see a lot of bears and a lot of cubs. »

2010 grizzly bear attack in same campground

On July 28, 2010, a female grizzly bear accompanied by three one-year-old cubs attacked three people in three tents at the Soda Butte campground.

The attacks began around 2 a.m., when Ronald Singer was bitten on the leg through his tent. Then Deborah Freele was bitten on her arms and legs.

Kevin Kammer was then dragged from his tent, killed and partially eaten by the bear and her cubs.

According to reports at the time, it was believed that the bear attacked the campers out of desperation because she had been unable to find adequate natural food sources for herself and her cubs.

The bear was killed by wildlife officers and her cubs were captured and sent to a zoo.

Marc Heinz can be reached at [email protected].

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