May 8, Day 8: You can read the entire blog and view photos on our website. If you enjoy the account, Please . . . share it with your friends. Photos from the trip can be viewed at: http://astilesphotography.com/f390536220 Thanks! We photographed the Bison calves through Lamar Valley. As we left Tower Junction and headed towards Mammoth, we found a Grizzly feeding off another winter kill next to Blacktail Pond. A Coyote was wanting desperately to get down to the kill and feed; but he was not about to confront the Grizzly boar. The coyote trotted around near where we were set up, and eventually disappeared in one of the draws, leaving the grizzly to eat his fill. Did a few scenery shots and drove down to Old Faithful where we had lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge before heading back to Mammoth, and then on back to Silver Gate.
People often attribute human qualities to wildlife, and I am guilty of it myself at times like this encounter that made me think of a mother’s love. However, there is a limit to how far that should go, as we have seen time and again in incidents where tourists endanger themselves and the wildlife by not respecting the animals. About a mile past the Lamar Ranger Station, we found a Bison calf all alone in the sage brush on a small bluff beside the Lamar River. We pulled off the road with the intentions of photographing it; but it soon became apparent that something was wrong with it. After observing it, I determined that it was blind, and was panicking as it sought its mother. She had abandoned it and moved on across the river. Now I know that nature will run its course; and I am not opposed to that at all, believing it is the best way to let things play out in a situation like this. However, automobiles and misguided humans do not fit into that equation as I see it. We stayed at the location, and a couple of times I asked other visitors to not go out to the bison calf when they started out in that direction. Another person there drove to the ranger station to ask if they could send a ranger down there. His intent and mine were to prevent the calf from straying onto the highway and sustaining a non-lethal injury, thereby causing it more pain and suffering. We waited there for about 3 hours and finally had to leave and head back to our cabin to get packed up to check out the following morning. As I left, I could only hope that a ranger would come and euthanize the calf after everyone had left the area; or, that a wolf or bear would find it during the night. All that I could deal with, but not seeing it get hit by a car. Nature is not kind, nor is it cruel. It is simply balanced as long as we keep out of it. We insist on preserving human life at any cost, and to try and apply that to wild animals is going against the rules under which they have lived for thousands upon thousands of years.
After the little blind bison calf, I had to stop about a mile down the road because an idiot had parked his vehicle half on and half off the road. It was late evening, and he was outside the vehicle, squatting in the middle of the road, taking photos as two bison approached. His three passengers were standing at the front of the vehicle admiring him. The first bison moved off to the side of the road and went around him; but the second bison was becoming very agitated. I did not want to do anything to further agitate the bison, so I stayed back and sat quietly in my truck. Finally, the bison snorted, tossed his head up and down, and then wheeled and trotted back the way it had come. The idiot then noticed that I was waiting to get by and moved over to join his admirers. I slowly pulled up even with the people, lowered my window and told him he was asking to get killed. He sheepishly agreed, and my wife added that he was breaking the law being that close to the animals. His admirers looked astonished, as well as clueless. We had seen enough for this day, and left the park. 165 miles, 25 MPG