Fisherman Sam Vassar recently posted a wild video to Instagram of a brown bear chasing down and killing a cow moose along a rushing river in Alaska. The video was captured in the Bristol Bay area of the state.
“Got to witness a once in a lifetime occurrence this week up close and film the entire interaction — a brown bear stalking and killing a wild moose in Alaska,” Vassar wrote in the post.
According to Vassar’s comments, they were motoring back to camp when they spotted a moose in the river and soon saw a bear in hot pursuit. Initially, the moose cut back toward the river bank, but the bear closed in on it quickly.
The moose then crashed into the river, where the bear caught it in shallow water. And then the death struggle began.
“I’m going to stay far enough away so we don’t scare the bear off,” Vassar says in the video.
If nothing else, this footage is a visceral example of a bear’s strength and tenaciousness as a predator. Even though the moose clearly outweighed the bear, the grizzly was able to hold onto the moose and wrestle it to exhaustion in strong current.
Unfortunately, the comments on the Instagram post are predictably foolish and serve as an example of how many people are out of touch with nature.
Bear Predation on Moose
One of the common misconceptions about brown bears and grizzlies (which are the same species) is that they don’t often catch and kill ungulates. A variety of research from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests otherwise, and the department also says that black bears take their share of moose calves as well.
“Grizzly bears have been shown to be particularly effective predators of moose calves from birth to about 2 months of age and often kill adult moose in the spring,” according to the ADFG. “In this regard, one grizzly bear is equivalent to many black bears. Not all bears are equal, however, and some bears seem to become specialists at killing both adult and calf moose.”
“Black bears have been found to be the most important predator of moose calves in some areas of Alaska where grizzly bears are uncommon. In these areas, black bears killed about 40% of all moose calves that were born. Most predation was by adult males.”
As this video clearly shows, grizzly bears are more than capable of taking down adult moose.