By Montana Grant

Posted: June 8, 2023

 Personal safety comes with personal responsibility. During a time with reduced police, more people, less enforcement, less security, and greater risks, we are now required to become smarter and more aware of risks.

The Buffalo of Yellowstone Park causes more injuries to humans/ tourists, than grizzly bears, wolves, lions, snakes, and other critters combined. Despite the concerns and dangers caused by Bison, people continue to get too close to Buffalo. They also tend to intervene with other animals despite warnings.

Yellowstone Park defines being too close to Buffalo as inside of 25 yards. For bears, it’s 100 yards. Recently a guy decided to take some selfies with a mature buffalo bull. His cellphone was inches from the bull’s nose. The bull reacted and the selfie taker was injured. In some cases, bison bullies get close and get away with it. This is not always the case. There have been 3 bison attacks this month.

Last summer, a biker chick, in leather pants, got too close and the horny bison hooked onto her pants. The buffalo displayed her pants from his horn! Other victims end up getting gored, stepped on, knocked down and stomped, or bruised. Some people that get too close are killed. Tourists in cars get their rides damaged when they try to shove buffalo out of the way or beep their horns.

Now it seems that tourists are intervening with Nature by grabbing baby critters, that they perceive to be in danger. A baby buffalo having trouble swimming with the herd was “rescued” by a tourist and prevented from staying with its mother. A baby elk was also loaded into a tourist’s car and taken to a Ranger station. These critters are now euthanized because they can’t survive without their parent. These tourists signed the death sentence for these baby animals. Did any of these helpful tourists learn about touching baby birds and returning them to the nest? Mother birds will not help them due to the contaminated human scent.

Almost all these encounters are preventable. Buffalo communicates their intentions through body language and sounds. A raised tail means back off. Grunts, pawing, and bluff charges are also ways to get you to back off. Take responsibility for your actions.

Knowing the risks, why would you place yourself, kids, friends, or family in harm’s way. Disney movies and children’s books may be partially to blame. In the videos and stories, the animals talk, sing, and interact like humans. Yogi, Winnie the Pooh, and other critters are clothed, live in hollow trees and love life. These wild critters are just cartoon or zoo animals that we can encounter and enjoy.

Our National Parks are not National Zoos or entertainment parks. These areas are wild places with wild carnivores, predators, and critters that defend and protect their spaces. Mothers defend their cubs, fawns, and babies just as any tourist would.

Enjoy the park, stay in your vehicles, take pictures from a safe distance, and don’t endanger these wild creatures. If they hurt humans, after being poked and prodded, they may also end up being killed.

 If you love wildlife and your safety, Back Off!

Montana Grant

New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing