Why it’s important to keep your distance from bison at Custer State Park

Local News

CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. (KELO) — Authorities in western KELOLAND are once again reminding people to keep your distance from bison. This comes after a bison charged at a woman at Custer State Park this week. The bison caught its horn on the woman’s belt, tossing her around violently. Eventually her pants came off, and she fell to the ground.

This time of year is mating season. Custer State Park Superintendent Matt Snyder says that means bison are more anxious and territorial.

A female bison, or cow bison, is what charged the woman on Wednesday evening.

“The cows still have all their calves with them so the cows get real territorial and I don’t know where the calf was compared to where the cow was. Then you have the big bulls. The bulls are in the herds right now because of the rut, the breading season and they just keep things stirred up and keep things moving around,” Matt Snyder, Custer State Park Superintendent, said.

Custer State Park officials say that if people are anywhere near bison. It’s important that they remain in or near their vehicle.

If you are on a motorcycle, you should stay on your bike, proceed slowly, and do not rev your engine.

“Know your surroundings. Know if they’re in front of you or on your side,” Snyder said.

Dylan Thomas is from Minnesota. He rode to the Black Hills for this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. While he enjoys looking at the bison, he doesn’t get close.

“That’d be a good starter so keep your distance. They are not cute and cuddly, they are wild animals,” Dylan Thomas, visitor from Minnesota, said.

Sam Pecoraro, from New Jersey, is on vacation. He knows if you want to take pictures of the massive animals, you should remain in their cars.

“Even if they are from a distance, because they are so big and lumbering, you think you can run faster than they are. No. But they are serious animals and you don’t know what they are going to do so you’ve got to be cautious,” Sam Pecoraro, visitor from New Jersey, said.

If you’re not careful, your vacation could include a trip to the hospital.

The bison at Custer State Park can grow to 6 feet tall and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

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