Yellowstone Reports

Printer-friendly version

Little America Ambush

Coyote and Badger Clash
by Dan Hartman

Nov. 29, 2021

     I was returning from Bozeman, where I had taken our daughter back home after spending Thanksgiving with Cindy and I.      Earlier that morning, on our way out, we had seen a good bit of wildlife.      Two bull moose sparring at Lower Baronette,  fox mousing also at Lower Baronette.   A flock of rosey finches and a perched bald eagle at the confluence.  Rams rutting at Gardiner Canyon and Bohemian Waxwings.      Now on my way home, I didn't expect much as it was midday.  But as I drove through Little American, movement caught my eye on the north side of the highway. To my amazement, three coyotes were ripping into a badger!      I pulled off the road, dug out my camera and began filming.  This probably took 15-20 seconds.  Before I got my first shot, the third coyote had already moved off.  Interestingly, he watched from what appeared to be a fresh badger dig.  Probably where the attack started.      The two remaining coyotes continued to grab at the badgers loose fur with their sharp teeth, while the badger winded back and forth trying to protect his rear.  This was impossible as the coyotes continued to attack from both ends.      There were times both coyotes actually had a hold of the badger at the same time.      On a couple occasions the coyote on the right even got ahold of the badgers neck, but badgers have thick hides and a kill bite could not be made.      After a minute the second coyote gave up and moved on.  Now with just one adversary the fight became a standoff.      Then suddenly the badger was gone, melting into the sage.  Possibly even backing down an unseen hole.      The remaining coyote searched around a bit then returned to the battle scene to roll in the grass before trailing off after his partner.      In the past, I have come across badgers killed by larger predators.  Both times by wolves as the badger was caught at a fresh kill.  The carcasses being an elk.      Now many times, I've come across coyotes and badgers hunting together.  Each time but once it was a single coyote.      Some of those occasions the two predators seemed almost friendly.  But, usually you could tell the badger wished the coyote would just go away.      This is my first time witnessing coyotes treating a badger as prey.

For help referencing place names, use the Yellowstone SpotR app:
    • Download Yellowstone SpotR for Apple iOS
    • Download Yellowstone SpotR for Google Android