Yellowstone DIary 2019

August 20, 2019 Mortal Combat

August is the RUT for Bison Bison Bison. The females have a very short window in which they can conceive. So the Bulls have an organ in the roof of their mouth that can “smell” the pheromones that the females emit and can tell the Bulls when the females are ready. The Bulls pick a female and “guard” her checking her constantly. During this time he will not let her near any other Bison, even her calf. If another Bull gets too close they will have “words”. Most of the time a little bluff and bluster settles the issue but with two large stubborn Bulls they can get into combat. This rarely happens but it can result in the death of one of the Bulls.

This happened this week and the Bull died a few hundred yards off the road. His death will feed many animals in the Lamar Valley including ravens, Eagles, Bears and Wolves. We arrived before day break and you could hear the bears argueing about access. Growling in the dark. First light revealed 5 grizzlies on the kill and 5 wolves waiting their turn. Barb got this image when daylight arrived.