Anyone that knows me knows I preach and practice keeping proper distance from wildlife at all times. From writing blogs about it for other publications, to educating people on the issue every chance I get, I am always telling people one thing- If you stay far away from an animal, you will be fine. Sometimes, I am proven wrong.
Normally, staying away is sound advice, as keeping your distance is the best bet for safety. Staying an average distance of 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 m), from bison, elk, and other animals are the advised distances by Yellowstone National Park. However, occasionally the law of averages has to balance out and an animal does something unexpected, making your distances irrelevant.
The video above, for those who skipped it to read more of my writing, shows a bison running down the road in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park. Seeing bison run on the road is far from uncommon when visiting this park, and I should know, I wrote the book on road trips to Yellowstone. What made this video of a bison running on a road unique is that it wasn’t actually running to run, it was charging directly toward a parked car over 200 feet away. The reason for the bison charging, according to the driver of the car, was that the car further down the road was tired of driving behind them, and started to chase them down the road with their vehicle.
I know… that other car sounds like it is full of terrible people.
This sounds shocking to many who have not frequented Yellowstone, but the harassment of wildlife on/near roads in Yellowstone has become near commonplace. Countless times, visitors to the park will treat wildlife like a cab, runner or bicyclist in their way, honking at it, tailing it and sometimes going so far as to nudge it with their car. The drivers of these vehicles (usually from one west coast state in particular) may feel their schedule is more important that wildlife, but their actions will only cause others harm by agitating, stressing and eventually causing animals to charge, whether in fear or anger.
I’d really like to live in a world where people treat wildlife with respect, even if just for now, it is in our National Parks.