As countless numbers of people get ready to hit the holiday road for the 2022 summer tourist season, the state of South Dakota is once again compelled to remind its visitors to please don't pet our buffalo (AKA bison).

You would think this should be a fairly obvious thing, but each year there always seems to be one or two knuckleheads that try to get up close and personal with a bison, and that usually results in being a very bad day for the person who feels the need to get into a buffalo's bubble.

While a wild buffalo can look like a fairly harmless version of a fluffy cow, in reality, they can actually be quite aggressive and deadly.

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Lydia Austin, the interpretive programs manager for Custer State Park, told Dakota News Now, “You get into their bubble, they get frustrated, they’re going to let you know.”

Case in point is the story of the Iowa woman in 2020 that attempted to take a photo of a herd of buffalo in Custer State Park while on a motorcycle trip to the Black Hills.

The woman sat down in some grass near a mother bison and her calf to get a quick picture.  A short time later she was charged by another nearby bison that hooked its horn on her jeans, flinging her around in the air like she was some sort of rag doll. The female victim was eventually thrown out of her pants and tossed to the ground. And ultimately needed to be transported to a local hospital via life-flight.

That incident alone should help to illustrate the sheer power these non-menacing-looking beasts possess.

As Austin told Dakota News Now, “A lot of people say ‘yeah, they’re not like a predator. They’re not scary. They don’t have the teeth.’ They are a big animal that can move fast."

One thing is for certain you're not going to be able to outrun a buffalo. Sure, they might look big and lumbering, but as Austin says, a wild buffalo can run more than 35 miles an hour and be a defensive animal.

The safest place to view a wild buffalo, according to Austin, is from your vehicle. However, should you venture out of the car to take a peek, it is recommended that you stay at least 100 yards away from buffalo. So basically, a football field distance away from these large critters.

As Austin says, it's best to remind yourself that you are a guest in their park. Buffalo will go wherever they want to go.

With that said, you might want to restrict your wildlife selfies to maybe something less lethal like a horse, a wild turkey, or maybe a prairie dog?

I mean, when was the last time you heard a story about a prairie dog sending someone to the ER, right?

Source: Dakota News Now 


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