As the sun rose over the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park, the silhouettes of American buffalo (bison) dotted the horizon.
Truly wild bison are a rare commodity and seeing them in person is a powerful experience when considering their nearly extinct status 120 years ago.
While slowly driving through this incredible setting, a couple of beautiful pronghorn caught my attention.
I pulled over to take some photos.
Another gentleman had just stopped to do the same and as we adjusted our lenses, his wife shouted from their truck.
Turning around, we found ourselves nearly eye to eye with a massive bull bison.
And he looked angry.
The whites of his eyes showed as he grunted at the distance of about 15 feet which means we were about 1/2 second away from 1,500 pounds of fury.
We gently backed up and then a couple of other bison that just crossed the road caught his attention.
He immediately ran out and slammed into one of them. The other, younger bull struck back but then ran off leaving the big bull on its own.
He then proceeded to roll in the dirt, grunt and buck up and down like a bronco.
Yes, this was the same bison that walked right up to us a few seconds earlier.
Bison hurt more people in Yellowstone than any other animal and in fact a recent attack on a woman sent her to an emergency trip to an Idaho hospital.
People look at them as large cattle from the dairy farm because they are unafraid of people in the park.
It’s called confidence people, not docility.
As I type this at the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport, I can’t help but smile. It’s a memory from an amazing trip where the Lord blessed me with many opportunities to get boots on the ground conservation information.
I’m well aware of bison dangers and in fact avoided fishing what looked to be an incredible spot in the Lamar Valley due to bison presence. Not only were there big bulls but lots of babies there.
Being between a momma bison, a calf and a fishing hole is not a good idea.
I fished elsewhere and did quite well.
This trip not only brought me information but clarity. Sometimes only being in wild places does that for me.
I’m just glad I’m writing a blog about my bison encounter instead of reading one someone else wrote.
“Wildlife Journalist Attacked By Bison” is not a headline I want to read any time soon.
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