Tags: bison | attack | man | provoke

Bison Attack Was Close Call for Man Who Provoked Beast at Park

Friday, 29 Mar 2013 11:36 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A man who provoked a 1,500-pound bison was rammed into a fence by the animal last weekend at Antelope Island State Park in Utah, and was "very, very lucky" to have walked away from the attack.

Witnesses told park rangers that the unidentified man was repeatedly rattling a fence to try and get the bison's attention and may have even thrown a few rocks at the animal. In return, the bison rammed him into the fence, knocking him over and pinning him down.

"The [bison] had gone through the gate section that's located real close to where he got hit and looked like he was going to run off the field," Wayne Ebenroth of Boise, Idaho, told KSL NewsRadio. "He had to have done something to catch the [bison's] attention, because that's when he turned around and decided to pay him a visit."

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The man reportedly stood up uninjured after the attack. "Other than being a little dusty, embarrassed, and shell-shocked," assistant park manager John Sullivan told KSL, he was "none the worse for wear."

Though park rangers generally warn people to stay at least 35 to 40 yards away from the beasts, they chose not to issue a citation to the man, who denied antagonizing the bison.

Bison, which are often mistaken for buffaloes in America (buffaloes are found in Africa and south Asia while bison roam in North and South America), do give warning signs before charging, Sullivan told KSL.

"They'll huff, they'll lower their heads, they'll paw at the dirt," he said. "Their tails usually go rigid and come up. Any one of those things is an indication that you're either too close or they're getting aggravated."

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Jim Skaggs, who organizes the annual Antelope Island Buffalo Run, says he has never witnessed a negative interaction with the animals in the eight years he's been running the race.

"Most of the time, the bison will just move and get out of the way," Skaggs told KSL.

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