By angelamontana

Posted: June 7, 2024

This may sound like the title of a new Rock and Roll song, but…

“Tourons” continue to not hear this music when visiting wild places. Ignorant and often drunk tourists take risks with their own personal safety for a selfie or memory. The memory of a hospital visit usually follows. 

Not only do tourists in our wild parks need to look after personal safety, consider the safety of others around you. A teen can quickly avoid a charging bison, but not an 82-year-old woman. Know your limits and follow the rules. Most deadly encounters are avoidable, preventable, and common sense. 

An animal encounter may not kill you, but the wounds and injuries can be life changing. Consider what the critters have for weapons and protections. Sharp canine teeth are typical of carnivores. These long, sharp teeth are for puncturing, tearing, and grabbing. Other teeth and strong jaws are for crushing bones and ripping muscles. Any of these injuries to the head and neck will result in death. The same wounds are how carnivores quickly kill food or threats. 

Sharp horns and antlers are weapons designed to puncture and tear. Hooking a horn under the ribs allows the animal to throw you into the air. Rattlesnakes have fangs that are designed to bite and inject deadly venom into your body. Brown Recluse spiders are small, but their fanged bites can kill. 

Any wild critter can be aggressive and deadly at any moment. These critters are survivors. They do not rationally make decisions and choices. It is either kill or be killed. Fresh meat is food whether it is from another wild critter or a person. Predators will be aggressive. Wolves and coyotes will attack and bite. Smaller pets and people make for inviting targets. I once watched a tourist’s small dog get attacked and carried away by an eagle. The off-leash pup ended up in the food chain. 

If the large, 1,000 lb. elk, moose, bison, or other critter does not injure you with their physical weapons, they will injure you with their mass. Large critters will simply stomp and crush you using legs and feet. Human bones will break quickly from a kick or stomp from threatened animals. 

Small critters can also bite. Even ground squirrels are capable of tooth bites and scratches. The wolverine is a relatively small carnivore, under 100 lbs., that is fearless and aggressive. I remember watching a wolverine, in Lamar Valley, chase off a huge bear that got too close to his burrow. 

Mosquitos are also common in our parks. Their bites can cause diseases and infections. Ticks also are in season during tourist time and cause a variety of illnesses.

Visiting our wild places is an opportunity for education. Learn about the wild critters and understand how to remain safe and healthy.  

Being smart means being safe!

Montana Grant

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Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing