It seems this may be the first year that Yellowstone’s many bison herds have given up on trying to deal with tourists by force. We’ve spotted many a bison peacefully relaxing in some of the park’s backcountry hot springs, as opposed to chasing the selfie-taking visitors.
Although Jellostone was unable to obtain an interview with any of these bison, we imagine their words may go something like this,
“It’s been a rough year. Tourist numbers are up, even over last year’s records, and we’re simply over it. Some of our herd’s elders know about some great hot springs in the backcountry areas. No tourist has even seen some of these springs. Not too hot, and not too cold. Just right for soaking the day away. Mating season is just around the corner, so eventually we will have to come back to reality and put on our summer rut display for the visitors, but for now it’s a great way to get away.”
In 2015, Yellowstone had at least five documented bison attacks. Several of these were taking selfies, approaching within several feet of the massive bison. Not only is this against the park’s laws, as stated in the pamphlet you receive upon entering, it just seems like a basic human instinct to be fearful of large, wild animals. Not anymore. You may think bears are the most dangerous of Yellowstone’s beasts, but there are many more incidents involving bison. Even the most agile of bison can be quickly enraged by calling them “buffalo.”
We’d like to remind visitors that park hot springs are off-limits for bathing. There are a couple of exceptions, including soaking in the boiling river near Gardiner and Mammoth. Many hot springs are at or near boiling temperatures, and can cause severe burns and immediate death.