This is brutal. A recent video recorded by Jerritt Wybron in Arizona shows rare footage of a mountain lion preying on a young elk. The video, which appears to have been taken through a spotting scope, shows the lion hot on the heels of the calf. They run in a circle through a meadow as the rest of the elk herd watches.
The calf is quick—and soon the mountain lion slows, appearing to give up on the chase. But when the calf tries to jump a fence and gets stuck, the lion quickly takes advantage of the situation, pouncing on the trapped critter, biting its neck, and quickly dispatching it.
“[This was] a once in a lifetime moment,” wrote Wybron in the video description. “[It was] absolutely incredible that I was able to capture this rare moment on film.”
Mountain lions are known to successfully hunt elk, but the unique part of this wildlife encounter was the role the fencing played in helping the lion make its kill, which is a phenomenon that has not often been documented. Field & Stream has reported on the impact that fence crossings play on wildlife, particularly elk, before. Though relatively unusual, fence crossings are known to prove lethal to some animals. For instance, in 2015, a massive bull elk died after tripping on a fence.
“The image and screams from the elk are permanently burned into my head,” added Wybron in regard to the recent incident. “Growing up hunting lions, I have nothing but respect for them. They are incredible animals and hunters. That being said, this cat’s days are numbered.”
Wybron was good on his word. On September 7, the day after he recorded the video, he successfully hunted the mountain lion responsible for killing the elk calf. “When the predator becomes the prey…So many things had to come together for this to happen. And honestly, I’m still in shock that it worked out,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “This will forever be one of my favorite hunts. And for anyone that may be wondering, yes, we eat lion meat. If you have not tried it, you are missing out.”