Bison

Biggest and baddest

Bison are the largest land-dwelling mammal in North America so wolves and grizzly bears are the only large predators of adult bison. Bison have become inceasingly common in Yellowstone National Park but most wolves steer clear of bison.

Wolves will always go for the prey that offers the most food for the least amount of risk. While bison are massive (definitely the most food), they are so dangerous that only some wolf packs will take them on. A bison can easily kill or critically injure a wolf and it takes a lot of hunting cooperation to bring one down. However, when their preferred prey (elk) are not around, some larger packs have turned to hunting bison – especially in the winter, since bison don't migrate. It takes a big wolf pack (5-10 wolves is optimal) to take down an adult bison. A successful bison hunt usually relies on having bigger, experienced males in the wolf pack.

Male bison near Pelican Valley

photo credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Quick Facts

Bison (Bison bison)

Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison (bison bison) have lived continuously since prehistoric times (although humans hunted them to near extinction). There are currently about 4500 bison in Yellowstone. Bison often live in herds, led by older females. Lone bulls may also gather in small bachelor groups. They are fast, agile, and can be aggressive. Both sexes have short, curved horns and a shoulder hump.

SIZE: Males (2,000 lbs/900 kg) are larger than females (1,100 lbs/500 kg)

DIET: grasses and sedges

TOP SPEED: Can run up to 35 miles per hour (55 kph)

In WolfQuest

If they are still moving, steer clear!

Currently, bison are not huntable in WolfQuest. The single player storyline is about you and your mate – and a pair of wolves could never successfully hunt such massive, dangerous prey.

Old, lone bulls might be failing in health but you'd better wait until they keel over. Bulls are the orneriest, most powerful prey a wolf will ever encounter. They may look slow but watch out!

The only way to get bison on the menu is to find a carcass. No wolf would never say no to a meal of bison (without the attitude and pointy weapons). The trick is to keep your found feast away from competitors. Wolves aren't the only ones looking for an easy meal.