Bull Elk Outsmarts Pack Of Hungry Wolves Who Think They Have Him Trapped

Wolves corner elk in stream
BBC Earth

Sometimes a waiting game can be the difference between life and death out in the wild.

There’s likely not an animal that’s better at the long game than the wolf, especially when it comes to wintertime at Yellowstone National Park. The harsh weather can be tougher on some animals more than others, and that was made evident in this video from BBC Earth.

The nature program was focusing in on a wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park and their pursuit of a bull elk they had managed to single out. It was clear that the cold temperatures and deep snow were causing more issues for the elk than it was for the wolves. Even in the initial chase down, it looks like the elk is running with all of its might, while the wolves were running at about half speed.

Once the bull elk started to tire, it realized there was going to be only one way to protect itself from the wolves. When the antlered animal came upon a mostly frozen over stream, it made the business decision to plunge into the freezing cold water, knowing that the canines wouldn’t follow.

On one hand, the sunken level gave the elk and its antlers the upper hand when wolves tried to get close. But on the other hand, the bull elk could only withstand the frigid water for so long, or else it would succumb to the freezing temperatures.

Because of the this, the elk tried to make a run for it after a while, hoping that the wolves resting on the shore nearby wouldn’t try to come after it. However, it didn’t get too far from the stream before two wolves chased it down and impressively guided it back to the water.

The wolves were showing a ton of patience, but so was the elk. It seems that both the predators and the prey had the same strategy for this high stakes encounter: Wait it out. There’s no doubt that the wolves had their “waiting period” better than the elk, since they just laid down in the snow by the stream and rested.

But surprisingly, the elk’s waiting game ended up paying off. After stalling for another period of time in the cold water, it eventually burst out of the stream and made a run for it. This time, the wolves stayed put, and the bull elk successfully outsmarted (or at least outlasted) the wolf pack.

Check it out:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock