Video

Wolf versus bear: predators face off outside Kamloops, B.C.

A B.C. man had a chance encounter with a wolf and bear squaring off in the wilderness.

'To be able to see it, and have the camera with me at the time. I was pretty stoked'

Normally, wolves in large packs attack bears, surrounding and confusing the animal. This wolf felt it could do it on its own. (Frank Ritcey)

As Frank Ritcey and his spouse hiked through the wilderness near Kamloops, B.C., a week ago, something peculiar caught their attention.

At first the couple couldn't quite make out what it was, but after a closer look through binoculars, they identified a large wolf.

It looked like the wolf was patrolling through the grass hunting mice, but as Ritcey watched he realized the animal was going for a more impressive kill.

A black bear was trundling along a few metres away from the wolf.

Ritcey moved closer to the animals to try to capture video.

Two predators face off outside Kamloops, B.C. 1:36

"I get out there and make my way around. I'm as close as I think I can safely get," said Ritcey, a columnist for CBC's North by Northwest and the provincial coordinator of WildSafe BC, a program designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

It was clear to Ritcey the wolf had caught the bear's scent once it started trotting towards the much larger creature.

"As the wolf gets closer you can see the bear start to tense up," said Ritcey.

When the wolf got too close for comfort, the bear charged it, warning the wolf to keep its distance.

Like The Jungle Book

But the wolf was not deterred and tried a different tactic.

"The wolf circles around and is walking along side of the bear now, just like something out of The Jungle Book," said Ritcey.

"But I know that isn't The Jungle Book down there, it's real nature, and wolves do eat bears."

Normally, wolves in large packs attack bears, surrounding and confusing the animal. This wolf felt it could do it on its own.

The wolf continued to closely tail the bear, pushing its snout towards the bear's hind legs. 

Ritcey believes the wolf was trying to attack the bear's hamstring muscles, in an attempt to immobilize it.

But the bear wheeled around menacingly enough to assert its dominance over the smaller creature.

The wolf, defeated, loped off into the forest in search of easier prey.

The bear, victorious, returned to perusing the Kamloops grassland.

"To be able to see it, and have the camera with me at the time. I was pretty stoked," said Ritcey

With files from North by Northwest