Monday, March 3, 2008

Lamar Valley

So yesterday we went out to Lamar Valley. It was the last day I have off before I come home, so we went to Lamar. We saw lots and lots of bison. We also saw elk and 5 coyotes. Not any wolves. Some of the people made me mad. I was driving along the road and came upon some bison. There were 4 bison walking across the road, so I wasn't able to get pass them. So I was pushing them but not making them run. They were walking up a hill so I wanted them to be able to get up it without running. They need all the energy they can keep. So making them run is not a good thing. They don't get to eat as much as they should because of the snow. Anyways where I'm getting to is one of the snowmobile guys(they were pulling their snowmobiles behind there trucks) pulled around me. There were around 8 people behind me. But he just came around really fast I saw him coming and slowed down. He had to slam his breaks on so he didn't hit the bison. They starting running and got scared and got out of his way of course. But one fell over a snowbank to get out of the way. It made us really mad. They need to respect the animals here. It's their park we are just visitors. So remember if and when you come to Yellowstone to respect the animals. Please.


Diana said...

Is there any fine for people to frighten the animals and make them fall? What if an animal is injured? Could you have turned them in?

Jim Macdonald said...

Hey Carrie,

I've posted this in the Yellowstone Newspaper. I used to work in Yellowstone for five seasons in Grant Village, and so I follow you and other workers with interest.

Anyhow, I saw something worse this winter. I actually saw a Park Service snow plow forcing the buffalo into a full run with nowhere to go - between Tower and Mammoth - the plow just kept coming, and I saw a small buffalo almost hurt himself as he or she fell down in a very deep snowdrift.

It was horrible.

So, I know how you feel.

This winter, the National Park Service has shipped more than 500 buffalo to slaughter and promise to ship another 100 more. Over 800 buffalo will be killed by that point by the Park Service, hunters, and the state of Montana. It's been a horrible winter for buffalo, and it promises to get worse.

Sigh. Thanks for reporting what you saw.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this happens all of the time. I certainly don't want to lump all people hauling snowmobiles on this road into one group, but so many of them simply ignore the speed limits and drive the wildlife as you describe. Regarding the plow drivers, it seems that they have gotten worse lately. I was standing in a turnout with several other photographers (with very expensive camera gear set up) when one of these drivers blew by without raising his blade, throwing snow all over us and our gear. I have also seen them run the buffalo as Jim describes. I have also seen UPS trucks do it, as well as other delivery trucks. In fact, last Spring there was a grizzly with cubs in the road when a truck came flying down the road. A couple of us got out in the road and flagged him so he wouldn't hit the cubs. The driver got very upset with us, screaming and yelling that he had a schedule to meet and that if we didn't get out of the way he would run us and our "damn bear" down. We held our ground and reported his plates. Don't know if anything ever happened.

RangerAndy said...

In case you are curious, a park ranger could issue people "harassing" wildlife federal violation notices; however, as this is a petty offense under the Code of Federal Regulations, a ranger would ordinarily have to witness the act personally.

If I saw someone recklessly harassing bison, I would consider issuing a ticket for violation of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Sec. 2.2(a)(1): "The following are prohibited: (1) The taking of wildlife, except by authorized hunting and trapping activities conducted in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section."

According to 36 CFR 1.4, "Take or taking means to pursue, hunt, harass, harm, shoot, trap, net, capture, collect, kill, wound, or attempt to do any of the above."

I would develop probable cause for the violation notice based on my personal observation of someone harassing the animals.

Of course, if the case didn't seem strong, I could always do a speeding ticket...

I hope this clears up some uncertainty.

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