Saturday, August 18, 2012

Face to Face with Bison

Four years ago we spent a couple days in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. It's a rough area with prairie and very rigid mountains, from lush green to sandy and dry shades of beige and white. It has an abundance of wildlife, lots of rattlesnakes and wide open spaces.

We spent the night in a very primitive campground that didn't offer more than a few sheltered picnic tables and a vent toilet. It was free... not very populated (although that changed in the course of the evening). Or, let's say it this way, it was not very populated by humans.

But these guys loved the place:

 They spent the day close by (one of the reasons why we wanted to stay in that campground), but in the evening they walked right across the campground to their nighttime area. And they didn't only walk. No ---

They scratched their heads, backs and behinds at the picnic shelters. Can you see the expression on this big guy? He really enjoys it.

If you leave them alone, they don't pose a danger. We watched all this happening while we were sitting under our shelter having dinner. The bison didn't even attempt to come close to where we were. They walked close by our tent, though.

Early in the morning the routine happened again, just the other way around. We didn't even notice because we were fast asleep (they are very quiet) and only realized that they were already in their daytime area when we got out of our tent.

It's something we always remember fondly. It was the closest I got to grown bison (there were about ten to fifteen who crossed the campground) outside the car without feeling uncomfortable for a single moment. These are beautiful animals who, I suspect, have a very unique sense of humor.


Anonymous said...

such an amazing creatures!

Kokopelli said...

I mean look at them! Aren't they amazing creatures? Thank you for sharing those photos. Love them!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Those are amazing images - they seem almost other worldly. . . . certainly from a different time.
Thanks for sharing them,

Sally H said...

gorgeous photos! They are such magnificent creatures!

Andrea @ From The Sol said...

At certain times of the year, they do not have a sense of humor. I assume you were fortunate to have been there when there were no young to protect or when mating season was in the offing. I have a friend who lives in Wyoming and keeps a safe distance because they are wild and you can never be sure. Greatfully, yours was a wonderful experience and you have that and these wonderful pictures to treasure. Thank you for sharing with us.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Deborah Tisch said...

What an experience you had! These bison are so powerful and strong.

For some reason, this post reminded me that when I first found your blog you were posting all those images of the owls. I was so fascinated by them!

Marcie said...

WOW...these are spectacular!! I've never seen these in real life. Thanks for the photos!!

seabluelee said...

Great photos, and what a fun experience! I've never seen bison on the hoof. They look really BIG.