Friday, July 29, 2011

Caution: Bison bison bison at Grasslands

Grasslands National Park, Val Marie, Saskatchewan:  “Bison are unpredictable.  View with caution.”

Signs, pamphlets, park websites and even notices tacked to picnic tables all say the same: Be very careful around bison (or, in their full scientific name: Bison bison bison). If they start to snort, paw, toss their heads or raise their tails, leave the area. Always stay at least the distance of a football field away. Wish you were even further if they start to charge or run at you. Be especially cautious in late July, the rutting season.

Bison sign - 70 Mile Butte Trail - photo by Shelley Banks
Bison warning at the start of the trail up to 70 Mile Butte. © SB 

But what can you do except snap a picture (from your car) when a bison stands in the meadow beside the road?

Bison in the morning, Grasslands - 2 - photo by Shelley Banks
The dominant beast in Grasslands National Park © SB 
He totally ignored us. I guess when you weigh almost a tonne, have excellent hearing and a keen sense of smell – and can accelerate to speeds of 48 to 56 km/hour to cover great distances in a short period of time, you know those safety tips are for the other party. You can pretty much do whatever you want, so if you decide to turn a blind eye to drivers, that’s your right, too.

Bison safety tips - photo by Shelley Banks
Safety tips on bison from Parks Canada


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