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Topic: Yellowstone Safety  (Read 3352 times)

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« on: March 12, 2012, 05:39:58 PM »

How concerned should I be regarding bison and bears in Yellowstone National Park? First, Iím on a motorcycle. Meaning: Iím not in a cage. Second, those 1,000-pound bison arenít in a cage, either. Motorcycle versus bison: bison wins.

Same with bears. Theyíre not in cages. Me = food. Iím just a rolling hors d'oeuvre.

I guess Iím not very worried about bears. I think the bears know to avoid people, vehicles, etcetera, for the most part. The bison donít seem to give a damn but they're just so HUGE. Maybe Iím wrong here. Maybe the bears will be extremely aggressive. Maybe Iíll be bear-food by noon. I donít know.

Someone set me straight: Are my concerns well-founded, or should I just ride without fear of the local mega-fauna?
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 05:43:45 PM »

I rode thru there once.

they wuz too busy eating grass to notice me.
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 05:55:26 PM »

Heh.  In 2001 I sloooowwwwly eased my GL1800 past a buffalo in Yellowstone that was blocking all the traffic in the road.  As I went by it held it's ground and let out a long, low grunt/snort that had my cheeks still clinched 100 miles later.  Also had a fantastic encounter with a full grown elk in YP (below), and a wild white stallion in Navajo National Monument.



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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 05:59:47 PM »

Last time I went through there, I was on a bright red Sprint, rode within touching distance.  Same deal near Rushmore last year at the National.   No problems.  Smile
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 06:18:52 PM »

Motorcycles in close proximity to large carnivorous wildlife=======Meals on Wheels Lol
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 06:20:18 PM »

You have more to worry about with the cagers who brake suddenly and randomly when they think they see a beastie.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 06:32:17 PM »

Problems are unlikely.  Encounters are almost guaranteed.  I have video of a massive herd at full speed coming off a hill and into the road.  They have zero regard for traffic or people.  If you're in the way, they'll either go around or go in front or push by.  Traffic was stopped both directions and a HUGE bull strode right down the middle brushing cars and trucks like a bully in a playground.  Just pay really close attention because they usually stay put or maintain direction but not always.  

See this day in history for some interesting perspective on Buffalo behavior...

http://vulcanbill.blogspot.com/2010/11/october-30custer-state-park-day-3.html

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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 07:48:41 PM »


You have more to worry about with the cagers who brake suddenly and randomly when they think they see a beastie.


Definitely agree with this!  We spent two days riding through Yellowstone last fall.
http://www.volkswagenhaven.net/Hell-2011.html

I thought I was going to see the pretty red Ducati ahead of me on the ground at one point when the stupid gorbie ahead of him slammed on the brakes in the middle of the road - but ZED managed to save it.

We definitely saw buffalo near the road, and were bloody uncomfortable about it as the cars ALL stopped, but we did make it through without incident.
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 07:53:29 PM »

I read on the innernet that buffalo have an inherent respect for the stylish elegance and elan of Italian machinery, but that might be an urban myth.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 08:08:29 PM »


You have more to worry about with the cagers who brake suddenly and randomly when they think they see a beastie.


Yup,

Plus for the record,  it's the Elk that are most likely to hurt you,  they're protective of their harems.


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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 08:10:22 PM »


I read on the innernet that buffalo have an inherent respect for the stylish elegance and elan of Italian machinery, but that might be an urban myth.


Well   Moto Guzzi is Italian for Buffalo isn't it?

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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 08:11:41 PM »


You have more to worry about with the cagers who brake suddenly and randomly when they think they see a beastie.


 Lol  Haha - that's exactly what I was going to say!

Don't worry about it. Just use some common sense and enjoy the show (2003 STN Meet in Custer, SD)

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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 08:12:48 PM »

My ex and I came out unscathed.  As long as you give them room enough so they feel comfortable and unthreatened, they'll leave you alone. They're so used to all the tourists.

I did come up upon some at a high rate of speed one day.  Got them stirred up and running in the other direction.  I almost felt like chasing them like Gus did in Lonesome Dove.  Then I thought twice. Nuts
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 08:18:58 PM »

Quote from: Mr_Gone link=topic=70506.msg1636969#msg1636969 date=1331588398 Second, those 1,000-pound bison arenít in a cage, either. Motorcycle versus bison: bison wins.[/quote

You're being optomistic.  Try 2000 lbs.

I should have stated before.  To be on the safe side, don't position your bikes between cars.  If they feel the need to bust through, you're the path of least resistance in their eyes.

But truly, as someone else said, you have more to worry about with tourists swerving and slamming on the brakes suddenly if they see a photo op.  Espcially the Asians with their 6 different cameras hanging around their necks.  It's a stereotype for a reason. Lol
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 09:50:37 PM »

I should add: DO NOT ride at after dark. A car coming the other way flashed their lights to indicate 'something', and despite proceeding at a crawl I was within 20' before I saw the giant bison on the roadway.  They seem to function as black holes.
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2012, 11:35:37 PM »

don't piss em off and don't keep food in your tent and you will be fine...
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2012, 02:09:26 AM »

Glad to see this thread!  I've been hoping to make it up to Jellystone sometime this year and have been thinking the same thing...  I've done Yellowstone on a snow mobile before, which was cake, but then again the bears are hibernating, bison are all frozen to the ground, and you don't have a mass of cars to block you into a bad spot.

I've definitely seen some friendly bears getting too close for comfort up there, but I'd definitely be more worried about the bison and elk; and the brake checking sightseers are probably a huge one too (watch out for my dad!).

I think I'll try it out, but will probably leave the side bags in the hotel room so I can lane split more easily if I have to get out of a hairy situation.
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2012, 04:53:34 AM »

Guy on a buffaloOOOO!!!



Can't believe nobody said it yet.
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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2012, 12:44:47 PM »

Been to Yellowstone 4 times and several other National Parks with wildlife. As others have said, slow down, don't ride at night and watch the sudden stops of cagers.
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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2012, 01:25:21 PM »

My suggestion is to ROK-strap 2 large whole salmon to the top of your sidebags and ride very slowly through the park yelling "Hey Bear, hey bear".
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2012, 01:32:32 PM »


My suggestion is to ROK-strap 2 large whole salmon to the top of your sidebags and ride very slowly through the park yelling "Hey Bear, hey bear".


Could you demo that for us, please?
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2012, 02:17:56 PM »



 Lol  Haha - that's exactly what I was going to say!

Don't worry about it. Just use some common sense and enjoy the show (2003 STN Meet in Custer, SD)


On a trip through that area, got close to a lot of wildlife.  They never charged at me.  In fact, they were more afraid of the bike than they were of cars.  When one bolted, I was afraid it would trample OVER a car in it's path.
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2012, 02:44:51 PM »

I had actually been looking at videos on YouTube similar to this a couple weeks ago and saw this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oUqd9M4JFg

Starts out slow, so you can skip to 0:45 if you want...
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2012, 05:17:51 PM »

Actually, the most dangerous creature in the area is this creature.  Very unpredictable.  When scared, will defend itself with it's antlers, gnaw on you and kick.
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2012, 06:28:18 PM »

Great responses, y'all. Some are useful. Some are funny. Jackalope - the assassin of the prairies!!!
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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2012, 07:55:43 PM »

A lot depends on the weather. I rode through there early last June....east entrance from Cody and down through the Tetons into Jackson. Temps in mid-30's and rain. Saw one lonely bison and had hypothermia so bad that I had to have the desk clerk take my helmet off at the hotel in Jackson. Sad
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2012, 03:07:56 AM »

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j288/rnovielli/2007%20STN%20National%20Days%205%206%207%208/DSCF0242.jpg


The Bison weighs close to 2200# full grown.

All I'm sayin' is the Bison Wins.  
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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2012, 09:31:53 AM »

personnally I would be concerned but not afraid. A couple of years ago the missus and I were traveling through Custer State Park in SD. We were motoring slowly along on a BMW R1150RT. We came around a curve and found ourself smack dab in the middle of several hundred bison crossing the road. Traffic was backed up and the bison were all over the road and on both side. I considered turning back, but a large SUV started moving through, so I decided follow and let the SUV block for me.

We must have irritated one of the things, as we rode by. We were barely above an idle by the way. Anyway, the thing put it head down and started coming at us. Luckily, it only took a few steps and then stopped. Must have decided we were worth the effort. Now understand, I didnt know about this until after it happened and the wife told me about it. (and showed the photo as proof). It had come at us from behind. Good thing I figure, had I know I might have done something stupid like trying to outrun the thing and dodging through a bunch of large metal objects interspersed with large hairy one.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a295/Yankeedog/IMG_4791.jpg

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a295/Yankeedog/100_4205.jpg

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a295/Yankeedog/100_4202.jpg


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« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2012, 09:51:55 AM »


A couple of years ago the missus and I were traveling through Custer State Park in SD. We were motoring slowly along on a BMW R1150RT. We came around a curve and found ourself smack dab in the middle of several hundred bison crossing the road. Traffic was backed up and the bison were all over the road and on both side. I considered turning back, but a large SUV started moving through, so I decided follow and let the SUV block for me.


That's what happened to us, but we just sat and enjoyed the show. I don't think that it would have been... prudent... to try and ride through a migrating herd of buffalo  Crazy
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« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2012, 10:28:22 AM »




That's what happened to us, but we just sat and enjoyed the show. I don't think that it would have been... prudent... to try and ride through a migrating herd of buffalo  Crazy


I remember how cool that was.   You were ignoring my advice to honk your horn at them.   I figured if they were going to charge, it would be at the noisy RED machine.    Razz
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« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2012, 10:50:33 AM »


Guy on a buffaloOOOO!!!



Can't believe nobody said it yet.


Park the bike and ride a buffalo !

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« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2012, 10:51:41 AM »


I remember how cool that was.   You were ignoring my advice to honk your horn at them.   I figured if they were going to charge, it would be at the noisy RED machine.    Razz


Ha - one more reason why I never listen to your advice  
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« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 12:26:54 PM »

Custer state park bison injure and/or kill someone every couple years, but they are usually idiots trying to pet them or get close photos.
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« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2012, 12:45:53 PM »


 You were ignoring my advice to honk your horn at them.


The last time I rode to Burkes Garden, I came around a corner on that gnarly dirt road and encountered a buffalo milk cow that had escaped from some nearby farm.  I slowed down and just eased on by - momma moo gave me the stinkeye but other than that she was okay.  

A bit farther up the hill I stopped to wait for my friend Rue on her SV650 to catch up.  All of a sudden here comes the cow galloping towards me, with Rue right behind it leaning on her horn and flashing her highbeams.   EEK! The cow veered off just before whacking into me and slipped back through the broken barbed wire fence to the safety of its pasture.  

After I stopped shaking I suggested to Rue that she find an alternate method of dealing with loose bovines.
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« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2012, 04:12:38 PM »

You are talking about an animal (the bison) that is totally unpredictable.  KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!  Keep your eyes open because they move around alot and before you know it a herd is near or even around you no matter where you are.  As for bears, I've only seen one grizzley and that was outside of the east entrance.  Photographs in the visitors center of doors ripped off cars, and camper sides peeled back as if by a can opener by hungry bears explain why they discourage tent or pop-up camping and care in keeping food sealed and away from your camp-site.  Even the smell of toothpaste can entice a curious bear.
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« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2012, 08:20:25 PM »


How concerned should I be regarding bison and bears in Yellowstone National Park? ... or should I just ride without fear of the local mega-fauna?

don't sweat the potential road encounters, ride w/o fear of mega-fauna.
you'll be going the same gentle road speed, in line, as rest of tourists.
tent camping encounters might be another thing, which I'm not expert at...
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« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2012, 12:34:29 AM »


The Bison weighs close to 2200# full grown.



So, ride an FJR?  
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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2012, 02:09:50 AM »

Herbivours will usually leave you alone unless you annoy them by intruding into thier space.  During Rut, leave more space around the elk.  Moose are evil tempered and to be avoided. All of them will protect thier young.  Food in tent is stupid in bear country, but you still have the random bear attack.  Considering the risk exposure, your probably more likely to be hit by lightning than killed by animals.

The cage drivers on the other hand...  

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« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2012, 04:41:19 AM »

Quote
Moose are evil tempered and to be avoided.


Yeah ask COGGER and STNR Paulie about that one. He got lambasted by a pissed off moose
enroute to Alaska on his Connie. Tromped his ass good I recall, and trashed the bike and put him in the hospital. Thank god his SO was traveling with him as backup in a support cage.  Thumbsup
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halloween over.
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