Our first grizzly passed by the cabin yesterday around 4P.M. We recognized it as the same bear we had last fall. A half hour later, we got a frantic call from our neighbors Tom and Cheryl. They had just watched the grizz chase an elk through the willows and into the timber below our cabin! I rushed down and met Cheryl along the highway. Through the trees we could make out silhouetted shapes crashing back and forth. Try as we may, we just could not find an opening that gave us an un-obstructive view. After ten minutes or so, we decided to try looking from the back road. A half mile back in we came across Cheryl’s” sister Toni and Brian another neighbor. They had located the action. As I rushed to set up my camera the elk lurched to its feet, the grizzly ripping at its hindquarters and biting at its back. I got set up in time to see one last lurch and the elk went down, never to rise again. For the next ten minutes the grizz continued ripping at the still struggling elk.
There comes a time when it’s no longer an elk, but not quite a carcass. The whole encounter becomes very surreal. There were even a few seconds when the cow’s head came up. When beast and prey gazed at each other almost nose to nose. My mind had trouble processing that gaze. I felt guilty being present.
Finally it became obvious the elk was dead.
The grizz fed for a short time, then slowly moved down to the creek to drink before bedding under an over hanging tree. At that time the snow came down so heavy the scene was lost to us. A half hour later the snow lessened and the bear returned to feed.
I left as darkness was closing in.
At 7:30 the next morning I was back. The grizz was bedded near the carcass.