By Jimmy Orr, Executive Editor
Sometimes you have to wonder if people really need to be reminded about how to act around wildlife or if reporters are really stupid.
Then again, in North Carolina where people may not be exposed to tourists who try to ride buffalos or pet grizzlies, warnings are probably needed.
Thus, a TV report from WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina where a reporter found it necessary to remind viewers that “if you see a bear or bear den, leave it alone.”
Do we really need this reminder?
Maybe so. The old Gary Larsen “Far Side” comic comes to mind where this exact scenario played out.
In Wyoming, of course, we know the stories.
We saw the video earlier this month of the tourists from Tennessee who blocked the path of the bison herd. Ultimately, one woman was thrown off her snowmobile when two of the animals had enough.
The more egregious of the videos (now taken down) showed the tourists screaming and laughing as they gunned their snowmobiles directly at the herd causing a stampede. Somehow no one was hurt.
To be fair, it’s not always the tourists.
There was the guy last summer in Choteau, Montana who heard that a grizzly was around his property so he snuck-up to an abandoned barn and peered inside.
Public Service Announcement. Grizzlies do not like to be surprised.
The surprised bear then attempted to rip his head off. And if it wasn’t for his quick-thinking wife who tried to run over the bear in her truck, he may not be alive today.
Occasionally, however — every now and then — reporters who are new to the area can be smarter than all of us.
Case in point: Deion Broxton. He was the reporter who worked in Bozeman last year (now he’s in Iowa) who was doing a report from Yellowstone and saw a bison herd.
He gave the herd some serious side-eye before quickly exiting the scene but gave a great play-by-play as he packed up.
“Oh my God,” he muttered while carefully observing the approaching herd.
“I ain’t messing with you,” he said moments later, while walking off-camera and to his car.
“Oh, no,” he continued while packing his car with his gear. “Oh no, I ain’t messing with you.”
The official social media accounts at Yellowstone National Park praised him and his video was viewed millions of times.
Lesson? We all can’t be Deion Broxton. There are people who need to hear warnings — like in that news report on WRAL.
The last bit of advice from their reporter: “Never approach a bear or try to feed it.”
Ok. We’ll try our best.
And our hope is that we have zero mauling stories to report this year. Fingers crossed.