Defensive Bison Sends Wolf Cartwheeling High Into The Sky At Yellowstone National Park

Bison launches wolf
Deby Dixon

You know, I’m starting to think bison are easy targets out in the wild, and I’m not really sure why.

Male bison can weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds and stand as tall as five to six feet, so they should be pretty menacing to potential predators. They also have the tools to be deadly themselves, with their horns being more than capable of goring another animal to death, or in some rare cases, pinning a Yellowstone National Park tourist to the ground.

I’m guessing that they are often singled out by predators like bears and wolves because they aren’t the fastest animals roaming the Earth, and they are probably a little top heavy. One little bump can give a smaller animal all the leverage they need to start turning a live bison into a five-course meal.

That must be why this pack of wolves decided to hone in on these three bison, with two of them looking to more fully grown and the other appearing to be younger bison. However, things didn’t go the way the wolves expected to, especially for the one that got a free flight through “Bison Airlines.”

At the very start of the battle, one of the wolves gets a bison horn right to the side, and is then thrown up into the air like a rag doll. Though the bison tried to “buck” it off its horns, it actually took two tries to get the wolf unstuck from the goring and sent up into the bright blue sky.

The wolf skids across the snow upon its hard landing, and quickly (somehow) gets up and runs away from one of the charging bison. Seeing one of their pack-mates brutally attacked didn’t stop the wolves from continuing to circle around the three bison, and one could assume that they were doing their best to steal the younger bison away.

You’ve got to give credit to the bison. They certainly look like they have this “ring of fire” defense down to a T. Every time a wolf tried to break apart the three of them, one of the bison would counter-attack while the other would strategically stay close to the youngest of the group.

It was actually a pretty impressive display of defense, and it appears that it was so good that the wolves slowly started to lose interest towards the end of the video.

According to the caption, the wolf escapes without serious injury:

“While the Lamar Canyon pack (5 wolves) attempted to hunt a bison calf one of the adult males, Dark Black, or 993M now that he is collared, was scooped up by a bison cow’s horn. The wolf was then somersaulted, with his legs and tail well above the bison’s head, and then thrown to the ground where he skidded several feet before jumping up and resuming the hunt.

Watch closely after Dark Black is tossed to the ground and you will notice that the second cow charges him. If the wolf had not immediately gotten to his feet he would most likely have been gored or trampled to death.

As it is, Dark Black, escaped this harrowing ordeal with no visible injuries, although he appeared stiff and sore for a couple of days afterwards. People who have watched wolves for two decades said that this incident between the wolf and the bison was the most amazing thing that they had ever witnessed. Particularly since the wolf survived.

The hunt attempt on the bison calf was unsuccessful but the pack did have an elk carcass the following morning.”

I think the bison set the tone with the wolves when it sent that first wolf cartwheeling through the blue sky, because the pack of wild animals didn’t seem to try very hard from that moment on. Even in some of nature’s ugliest moments, it can still manage to be beautifully cinematic.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock