Dodging the buffalo

So, about the buffalo.

For those of you who don’t know, buffalo are large, furry, majestic creatures that are usually docile in nature. They were slaughtered for years for their pelts, but are now part of Custer State Park’s landscape of diverse wildlife. The park doesn’t keep them fenced in, so the buffalo are free to roam around the park as they please and can cause quite a traffic problem when tourists stop to take pictures.

This is what they look like.

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Some people don’t realize that these animals are wild and should not, under any circumstance, be approached. Not to pet them, and not for a cool photo.

Never.

Because I live in the park, the buffalo often roam through our yard. The first night I was here, my new friends and I were playing a rousing game of sand volleyball (and I use the word sand loosely) while blaring some tunes from a car stereo. We heard shouting in the distance, but ignored it and kept playing – until three massive bull buffalos rounded the corner by the nearby cabin. Loud, thumping things tend to annoy the buffalo, so we quickly turned off the music and ran away while trying not to make any sudden movements.

Go on YouTube and look at “buffalo attack.” It doesn’t look like much fun.

But, as I said before, buffalo are usually very mild-mannered, so these three gave us the evil eye for a while before lumbering down the trail.

But that’s not the end of it.

A few days later, I woke up to the sound of car doors slamming outside my window. I didn’t pay much attention though, and got ready as quickly as I could because, as usual, I had overslept. We had gotten into the routine of walking to work together down a trail that’s only a few blocks long, because it’s summer and it’s beautiful. That’s when one of the other girls in the dorms appeared in my doorway.

“They’re giving us a ride to work because there are a bunch of buffalo on the trail.”

Seriously, no joke, our bosses had come to give us a ride because the buffalo weren’t budging an inch.

And that’s still not the end of it.

A couple days after that, I was once again woken up by the sound of a slamming car door. This time I bothered to look out my window, and sure enough, there was a huge buffalo right outside my window. He had found a nice patch of dirt in the yard and was rolling around in it like an excited puppy.

That time we still walked to work because the buffalo was distracted with his dirt bath.

People who aren’t very used to this much nature 24/7 might be freaked out by this buffalo “problem,” but I love it. And it makes for a great story.

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