If you've ever been to Yellowstone, you know how stringent they are and how many warnings you get about bears and bison. Everywhere you look, there are warnings-even on the picnic tables-about not approaching the bison or the bears. Our campsite in Slough Creek had a bear box and the camphost...a wonderful woman named Rosalinde Willson-patrolled her campground, looking for bear box scofflaws. She was also always on the spot when a bison or a bear entered the camp ground.
The problem is, nobody tells the bison or the bears.
We had a sow black bear come through the campground with her two cubs. Apparently there is a bear watch network (we didn't have internet at the camp) because within minutes of the bear alert, a ranger and about fifty people showed up, only a handful were actually camping in the campground. The poor bear merely wanted to pass through and all these folks are standing (a safe distance away) and watching her.
Every day we had bison in the campground. This one showed up, walked past our Grus egg at about three feet from the tongue, then plopped his heavy bison butt down not more than the width of the road from our Grus egg. His friend started grazing the edge of the road directly in front of a tent camper's tent. The tenter wasn't aware of it until he came out of the tent and almost ran into the bison. He took cover behind the site's bear box. He was trapped, as there was a river behind him and he didn't dare go that close to a full grown bison bull. So what did the bison do? He came right up to the bear box, and right after I took this photo, the bison LAY DOWN and took a nap. The poor man was forced to hide behind the bear box for about half an hour.
(I hope it shows up...I had to really shrink the photos down to fit. The man is sitting just to the right of a tree trunk).
The last photo is of a bison who crossed the river with the single minded determination of a tank, and kept on going. He passed so closely to me that I could hear a gentle 'whuff' with every step he took, and could see the water dripping from his not insubstantial beard.
I love Yellowstone...it's the only place in the world (other than the Serengeti, I imagine) that you can experience things like this.