By Wendy Corr and Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Yellowstone National Park officials have been trying to get the message out all year that bison are dangerous and people need to respect them.
Despite their continual urging and wellpublicized incidents caught on video where people have been injured this year, the word is still not getting out.
Case in point on Sunday afternoon, a Yellowstone employee was driving through an area of the park when dozens of people walked within 10 feet of a bison. The footage was uploaded to the popular Facebook page: Yellowstone Invasion of the Idiots.
Richard Midgette, an IT specialist at Yellowstone, captured the group of people — including children — walking down a trail right next to a bison. Some posed alongside of the animal while others appeared to walk up to it.
Midgette had no patience for the tourists.
“Could they be any dumber?” Midgette asked a companion in his vehicle. “People don’t understand he’s a wild frickin’ animal.”
Officially, three different people have been gored or flipped by bison so far this season. Unofficially, there’s been four as an incident reportedly happened last weekend.
That incident was caught on video (below) and shared to “Yellowstone: Invasion of the Idiots” as well, but park officials told Cowboy State Daily that no one officially reported it.
“Bison are wild animals and if they are approached, they can be dangerous,” Morgan Warthin, spokesperson for Yellowstone, told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
“Most of the time visitors are approaching bison inadvertently,” Warthin said. “But if approached, they’ll move towards the visitor, basically to say to the visitor, ‘Move out of the way.’”
In the unofficial fourth incident of the season, tourists did move away from a bison but very slowly and laughed during the encounter.
As a result of the lack of urgency, one man was flipped by a bison onto a concrete sidewalk where one woman screamed that the man was bleeding.
In Sunday’s incident, no one appeared to have been hurt.
A recent video showing a father gored by a bison after moving his young son out of the way also showed a bystander spraying bear spray, possibly in an effort to deter the bison that was moving in his general direction.
Warthin said there’s no evidence to indicate that bear spray was a deterrent for that buffalo who might still have been looking for a fight.
“We’re not advocating for visitors to use bear spray on bison, especially in the front country,” she said, “just because of the risk that could pose to other visitors.”