On a cloudy day to start the summer of 2018, visitors to Yellowstone were greeted with an amazing sight in Hayden Valley. To the delight of onlookers, who were safely away from the action, a herd of elk was chased by a huge grizzly bear.
First shared on Wild World Photography, a Facebook page dedicated to wilderness around the country, this video is an amazing thing to watch, as it is rarely seen. The photographer, Deby Dixon, is an amazing professional, capturing the sprit and soul of Yellowstone through her videos and pictures. On this day, she had a truly unique Yellowstone National Park moment, and was eager to share the experience with others. Deby, on the Youtube page where this video was uploaded said the following about the event:
In the Hayden Valley area of Yellowstone National Park, a grizzly bear chased a herd of elk relentlessly. On this day, the elk managed to escape. At this time of year, when elk calves are being born, the grizzly stay busy hunting, trying to find the elk calves hidden in the sagebrush. For the most part, grizzlies are opportunists and often steal carcasses from the wolves so it is not often that we see one chase a whole herd of elk.
While rare, those who spend enough time in Yellowstone have a chance to see something like this. In the 1990s, I was fortunate enough to watch a grizzly chase on elk herd near Mount Washburn for nearly 30 full minutes. The most impressive thing about that experience was also shown on the video below, which is how fast bears and elk can run on this uneven landscape, both up and down hill. A grown elk can run 45 miles an hour on this terrain, while an adult grizzly can run around 40 miles an hour. To put this in comparison, the fastest 1/4 mile time for humans is 43 seconds, or roughly 20 miles per hour. The fastest mile time in the world is 3 minutes and 43 seconds, or 15.5 miles an hour.
For those worried about bears in the park, Yellowstone does restrict certain activities in locations where there is a high density of elk and bison carcasses and lots of bears. Restrictions begin in some bear management areas in March and contuse through June. The level of bear attacks in next to zero in Yellowstone, with more people being injured by bison and elk.
Bear attacks in Yellowstone are quite rare, with an average of just one bear incident per year. In 2017, Yellowstone National Park was the sixth most-visited National Park in America. Last year also saw very few bear incidents, according to park officials. In fact, only eight people in the 145-year history of Yellowstone National Park have been killed by a bear in the park. More people in the park have died from drowning, burns (after falling into thermal pools), and suicide than have been killed by bears. For even more perspective, five people have died from being struck by lightning inside the park. Please quote these statistics next time someone says they are afraid of bears in Yellowstone. The numbers speak for themselves.
The following video is just a small sample of the incredible wildlife experiences one can have in Yellowstone National Park. For more about life and death in Yellowstone National Park, check out our post with incredible pictures from America’s First National Park.
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After having been to Yellowstone over 50 times, I have put on the miles, stopped at nearly every gas station, rest stop and scenic area from Seattle, Washington to Gardiner, Montana. I have stayed in the campgrounds, eaten at the restaurants and experienced the lodges. I know Yellowstone, I know the drive and I want to share it with you. The information I give has no hidden agenda. I want to give you the best trip to Yellowstone from Seattle as possible and this guidebook can do that.