Grizzly Bear & Black Bear Square Up As They Face Off Over Dead Bison In Yellowstone National Park

black bear bison
YouTube/Yellowstone Video

There’s a pretty general, well-known rule that you don’t get between a bear and its food (or its cub), but is there an exception if you happen to also be a bear?

It looks like that might be the case in this bear showdown at Yellowstone National Park, which pitted a black bear against a grizzly with dinner on the line.

The video begins with a grizzly bear chowing down on the carcass of a bison. As it pull and tugs on the dead animal, it suddenly turns up towards the hill behind it and spots a black bear.

Without even thinking twice about it, the grizzly abandons the bison and goes running up the nearby slope and away from the other bear. Normally the grizzly would be viewed as the more intimidating apex predator, but this was a pretty large black bear making its way down to the water.

Once the black bear got to the deceased bison and started digging in, you can see the grizzly wandering back up and thinking about stealing back the black bear’s meal.

The black bear had a nice waterfront seat for dinner right next to the rushing river, which also acted as a decent escape route if things didn’t go well between the two wild animals. You rarely, if ever, see a black bear and a grizzly duking it out, but this circumstance was the perfect opportunity for something to go down between the two of them.

Normally, a black bear wouldn’t even mess with a grizzly, who tends to be larger and more equipped to fight. However, the black bear managed to turn the tables on the grizzly in this clip and wasn’t going to give up its riverfront bison dinner easily.

The black bear keeps its eyes on the grizzly as it traverses back down the hill through the shrubbery. Every so often, it would look up from its feast to check on the whereabouts of the grizzly, who had actually called “first dibs” on the bison to begin with.

Occasionally, the black bear would walk away from the bison as if to lure the grizzly bear even closer. Each time it left the dead animal, it would only be gone for a short couple of moments before it returned to claim the dinner spot once again.

Around the six and a half minute mark, the grizzly bear just posts up on a rock and wistfully looks on as the black bear chows down on the bison that it had found first. After the black bear eats for a while, it starts to walk back up towards the grizzly bear, who is marking its territory in a display of dominance.

The black bear figures that it should probably call it a day with the bison carcass after that and walks away, leaving the grizzly to safely go back for seconds. The grizzly bear excitedly trots down to the bison, scaring off all of the scavenging birds right before it starts to aggressively scavenge itself.

This video goes to show that a standoff between two bears isn’t always as exciting as you might hope for, though this one was still chock-full of tension and high stakes. Ultimately, the black bear and the grizzly decided to take turns eating on the bison. They might not have agreed to do so, but with them both being rather non-confrontational, that’s just how it worked out.

You can view the exciting footage below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock