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Staying safe while watching bison

Before you see bison keep these tips in mind
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 4:12 PM MDT
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WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. (KEVN) - Taking a trip to see bison can be a fun event for the whole family, but it’s important to remember that safety is key.

The assistant chief of interpretation at Wind Cave National Park, Lennie Ramacher says you need to keep a minimum distance of 25 yards from bison or any other wildlife.

“When we’re talking about bison really common sense would indicate a hundred yards as really a safe distance. And the nice thing is these bison they’re big; they’re visible and, you can see them from a long ways away including from your vehicle,” says Ramacher.

If you’re too close, you may see some indicators from the bison like a raised tail or them pawing the ground and staring at you.

“We’re in the rut right now, their mating season, which runs from early July to September. At this point, the bison, it’s hot out there for them, they might be getting a lot of flies kind of all up in their face. Some of those bulls might have just gotten pushed around and beat up by a bigger bull, and suddenly, he turns around, and there is someone with a camera in their face. And he’s going to turn his full attention to you,” says Ramacher.

Another way to keep yourself and the bison safe? Make sure you're alert and driving the speed limit.

"Especially at a place like Wind Cave National Park, the highest posted speed limit is 45 miles an hour and, that's because the roads are narrow, there's not a lot of long sight distances. You can come around the corner, and, suddenly, there is a herd of bison," says Ramacher.

And if you’re looking to capture a photo of the bison, it’s a good idea to take it from your car.

“A person’s safety should be paramount. And it’s not going to be worth it if you get in too close to a bison for that photo. So a lot of cameras these days have telephoto lens you know so utilize that,” says Ramacher.

Copyright 2020 KOTA. All rights reserved.

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