The mountain lion is perhaps the cunning animal in North America. It's as stealthy as it is quick, with the ability strike fast and hit its prey hard just when the timing is right. It's no secret that most mountain lions fancy deer, but they will occasionally target larger animals, too. We have enough data to know that these big cats will stalk and hunt elk, but it's certainly rare to actually see it happen, especially right in front of a trail camera. Fortunately, a hunter in Utah managed to capture an amazing piece of footage that proves cougars do prey on elk.
As a bonus, this camera has sound so we can hear what is going on, too. One of the lead cows in this group senses something peculiar and wisely sounds the alarm. One elk calf isn't as fortunate, however, as the mountain lion seemingly chases it right through the top of the frame, presumably getting the healthy meal it was after.
Over the years here at Wide Open Spaces, we've laid eyes on a whole lot of trail camera footage, but this is one of the coolest clips we've seen to date. Even though this type of incident takes place regularly out in northern Utah's Wasatch Mountains where this was captured, it isn't every day we get to have this kind of look into the natural world.
More than likely, the cougar calculated that one of the adults would be much more of a challenge to take down and kill, so it strategically settled for the easier target. According to the video's description, the calf was not successful in getting away, as the owner of the trail camera found the elk's remains only about 15 feet outside the frame of the camera. While it's difficult to watch the brutality of nature as empathetic humans, weaker animals will always become part of the food chain and keep the ecosystem in full swing. However, even though the one calf was unlucky, the other two were able to escape, and will likely adapt to better protect themselves in the next survival situation they encounter.
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