On our way out of the Park this afternoon, I saw a wildlife biologist sitting in a pull-off just downstream of 7 Mile, off her sled and looking over the river bottom. While she didn’t appear to see anything, and I didn’t stop to ask, she looked as if she had seen something. So, I slowed down my pace and began to scan the river’s edge.
Several hundred yards below 7 Mile Bridge, I noticed a bobcat sitting on an old Doulgas Fir near the river bank. Chip (my snowcoach) rolled to a stop and we piled out to get a better look, watching from about 80 yards away.
It was motionless and keyed on something under the log, just a few feet away. Then the bobcat rose up and started walking down the log with perfect balance, not once missing a step. It was hard to say what the bocat was into, but there was no doubt that it was hunting. Off the log it walked onto the bank and moved upstream to another log jam. Predators are badass and this one put on a great show for us.
Luckily for me, a fellow guide pulled up with his sleds and his big bag full of Nikon lens not long after we first spotted the bobcat. Several minutes later the cat pounced and pulled out a muskrat from the depths of a log jam. At this point I was watching and not shooting…opps….I couldn’t help but watch. My biggest lens is a 200, but Chris carrys at 500…..so nice. We quickly switched lens and I got to zoom in a bit closer as the kitty walked away with its meal.
Lynx rufus, the bobcat, is native to Yellowstone. However, YNP has no idea just how many bobcats are living in the park. This elusiveness, coupled with observing a hunt in it’s natural habitat, is why I love this place.