(1985) On my second day at Yellowstone National Park, I rose early to get a
good start on sightseeing. My second stop was a roadside parking lot near
an open field where wild buffalo graze. The parking lot is lined with
explicit warning signs. Buffalo are dangerous. Visitors should not leave
their cars, and certainly not enter the field on foot.
I was taking snapshots with my telephoto lens when a car from California
pulled in. A man with a camera emerged from the car. I heard him tell his
wife that the buffalo were too far away, and he was going to walk out for a
I called over, "Read the warning signs! Stay away from the animals."
He said that nothing that big could catch him, and he walked to within
fifty feet of a buffalo. I picked up the mike on my CB radio and started
calling for the Park Rangers to bring a body bag.
As soon as his camera shutter clicked, the buffalo charged. Buffalo can run
35 mph for short distances, so I was amazed that this man was able to
sprint fifty yards back to his car ahead of the angry animal. He slid to a
stop, and managed to get in the car before the buffalo caught up.
But his car didn't escape the buffalo's attention. It rammed the car
repeatedly, severely damaging the door, top, hood, radiator, lights,
etc. The car was totalled. Park Rangers arrived expecting a bloody mess,
but the man and his wife survived with little more than glass cuts and, I
suspect, some rather interesting marks in their undershorts.
"Where the buffalo roam..."
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Submitted by: Steve Hudson