I just watched an interesting news segment featuring tourists filming a bison in Yellowstone National Park. Yes, there was stupidity involved. Yes, someone got run over. Yes, it’s definitely tourist season.
It seems as if every year tourists travel to America’s parks and refuges only to discover the cuddly animals on “The Animal Planet” channel actually have attitudes in real life.
In this case the tourists were filming a mature bison. Let me describe a mature bison for you. It can stand 6 feet at the shoulder and top 2,000 pounds. This time of year they are cantankerous as the rut fires up and although they appear to be slow moving and stupid, they can swap ends faster than a broadband internet connection. When they reach top speed even Carl Lewis couldn’t win the race in his prime. That said, the average out-of-shape tourist doesn’t have a chance when a bison bull starts his steamroller impression. In fact, bison rank as the top tourist tragedy in Yellowstone as it relates to animal encounters.
Over the course of my career I’ve been in close proximity to many animals for filming purposes. The animal that has chased me the most is, yes, you guessed, bison. I once had one chase me nearly a mile across a grassy opening. He could have run me over at any time, but instead he just played with me until I reached my truck. On anther outing I had a bison bull chase my vehicle down a gravel road with the intent to send it straight to Maaco for putty and paint.
I’ve been lucky and as I age I definitely give animals more and more space unless the intent is to hunt them in fair chase. Bison are on the top of my “wide-swath list.”
The female video photographer was trampled and tossed by the bison, but survived to tell the tale. It was definitely a trip to remember, but a dangerous way to add another memory into a scrapbook.
Feeling lucky, punk?