Bison will be bison, and tourists will be tourists. And now it's reported that a second tourist was gored and "sustained significant injuries" over the weekend after a bison charged her at a national park over the weekend.
According to a statement by the National Park Service, a Minnesota woman was "severely injured by a bison" in the abdomen and foot at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota on Saturday. She was in "serious but stable" condition and, after receiving care at a local treatment center, "was then transported to a hospital in Fargo."
At about 11:00 a.m. MDT, park staff were notified of the incident, which took place at the Painted Canyon Trailhead. Park Rangers and Billings County Sheriff and Emergency Medical Services responded and treated the patient at the scene until she could be taken by ambulance to Dickinson for further medical care. The patient was then transported to a hospital in Fargo. The woman sustained significant injuries to her abdomen and foot. The incident is still under investigation and the exact details of what occurred are not known at this time.
The attack (or defense?) occurred two days before a 47-year-old Arizona woman was gored in the chest and abdomen at Yellowstone National Park. She was airlifted to a hospital and, as we posted on Monday, her condition wasn't publicly disclosed. It's not clear in either case how close the women were to the bison or what the circumstances were that led to the charges.
BUT, as our national parks have repeated ad nauseam via posts, signs, statements, PAs, and every other mode of communication, here's a simple reminder when visiting a park that is home to bison and other such wildlife:
Bison are large, powerful, and wild. They can turn quickly and can easily outrun humans. Bulls can be aggressive during the rutting season, mid-July through August. Use extra caution and give them additional space during this time. Park regulations require that visitors stay at least 25 yards (the length of two full-sized buses) away from large animals such as bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, and horses. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in proximity.
In other words, please pay attention for your own sake — and so you don't ruin it for the rest of us.