Title: When mothers and daughters fight
Location & Date: Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park | 2015
Camera Set-Up: Nikon D800 w/ 200-400mm @ 400mm
Shutter Speed: 1/800th
We’ve been fortunate to be at the right place, at the right time to witness some incredible moments in the wild, but in the summer of 2015, we were given a show for the ages. A young bison died (likely hit by a car, but no one knows for sure) 70 yards from the road in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley and the telltale smell of rotting meat brought out the bears. The incredible encounter – a longer story for another day – played out for nearly a week before hundreds of onlookers, thanks to the incredible patience and management by district rangers. But on this particular day, the grizzly sow and her two cubs of the year who had been feeding on the carcass for some time, remarkably allowed the sow’s daughter from a previous set of cubs to join the feast. A stunning act from one of the most territorial creatures on the planet, but one that was short lived. When the sow’s older daughter had overstayed her welcome, the grizzly moved her cubs of the year back and then lunged at the sub-adult, nearly biting her bum as she reclaimed the meat for good. It was over in a second – and it was a sequence we almost missed – but thanks to good friends saving us a spot on the front line, I was able to handhold my camera and capture a moment I’ll never forget.