Unusual Behavior by Bison, Bison bison, Toward Elk, Cervus elaphus, and Wolves, Canis lupus

L. David Mech, Rick T. McIntyre, Douglas W. Smith


Incidents are described of Bison (Bison bison) in Yellowstone National Park mauling and possibly killing a young Elk (Cervus elaphus) calf, chasing wolves (Canis lupus) off Elk they had just killed or were killing, and keeping the wolves away for extended periods. During one of the latter cases, the Bison knocked a wolf-wounded Elk down. Bison were also seen approaching wolves that were resting and sleeping, rousting them, following them to new resting places and repeating this behavior. These behaviors might represent some type of generalized hyper-defensiveness that functions as an anti-predator strategy.


Bison; Bison bison; Wolf; Canis lupus; Elk; Cervus elaphus; Yellowstone National Park

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v118i1.892

Volumes that are more than six years old are freely available courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.


Questions or problems with the website? Contact William Halliday (info -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca).