Coyote Climbs Tree and Steals Bobcat’s Duck!


Feb 9th, 2014

Coyote Climbs Tree and Steals Bobcat’s Duck!

Ever the opportunist, coyotes sometimes watch attentively as a badger digs for rodents or as an otter fishes and then may steal the prey.  Along the Madison River this winter, the coyotes are watching the bobcats.

On the first day, of the second of three 2014 winter Yellowstone photo adventures, we set out to find the Madison Bobcat. We searched methodically for a couple of hours with no luck. After photographing trumpeter swans and other assorted waterfowl, we found a coyote scent tracking along the Madison River……abruptly he crossed the road and headed up into the broken, brushy habitat. He placed his paws as far up a spruce tree as he could reach and then he started climbing, yes, began climbing up the tree!


Slack-jawed, we looked up and near the top of the tree was a Bobcat with a very dead merganser in her mouth. The coyote kept climbing, 10, 15, 20, perhaps 30 feet using her mouth, legs, and tail to keep from failing, circling around the trunk as she climbed like a maypole dancer. Upside down and looking down, the Bobcat clenched her lunch more tightly in her mouth. Less than 3 minutes after the start of the coyote's bold, unaided ascent, a tussle ensued. The coyote grabbed and clinched the body of the duck with his mouth, the bobcat held on, suddenly the tree rained a cat and dog. When the snow settled the canid had the merganser and the feline marched away to sulk and lick its wounded pride and wet fur.

        Note the bobcat claws & coyote paws                      Note the coyote grabbing the duck

This bobcat is not the same one we photographed on the last workshop, as it was much smaller with different markings and a narrower face.

Sounds like a tall tale to me, but I’ve got the pictures to prove it!

On the final day of our tour, we awoke to temperatures of minus 40 degrees.  The snow-coach finally started after a heroic 2-hour effort by Dan.

Back along the Madison River we once again found a bobcat with a coyote trailing it.  This bobcat was in the same general area and looked to be the same one photographed on the first Yurt Tour.


This coyote had a dark scar between its eyes and a nasty bloody wound on his ear and was clearly not the tree hugger coyote pictured above.  Evidently, stealing from a bobcat has its consequences. This makes at least two different bobcats and coyotes interacting.

                 February 2                                       January 21                                      February 6

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