“We hope this serves as a good reminder to always be aware of your surroundings, and give animals their space when possible.” -Lydia Austin, Custer State Park’s Visitor Services Manager

A woman in South Dakota ended up in the hospital after cresting a hill in Custer State Park, surprising a small herd of bison prompting an attack. The woman was hiking near the Wildlife Loop Road, with her companion and dog when they unknowingly came upon the herd. Park officials want to remind visitors to be extra cautious when approaching blind spots in the terrain:

“It is always important to remember that bison, and all the animals in the park, are unpredictable.When possible, stay at least 100 yards away from bison and always be extra aware when approaching blind corners.” -Lydia Austin, Custer State Park’s Visitor Services Manager

Encompassing 71,000 acres in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is home to one of the largest publicly owned bison herds in the world and hosts millions of visitors every year. While incidents between bison and visitors are not common in the park, with that volume of guests and wildlife they are unfortunately inevitable.

Visitors are encouraged to gauge safe distances to be kept from bison using a literal “Rule of Thumb.” Its a dead simple method: just take your thumb, you stick your arm straight out, close one eye, and if you can cover the entire animal, you’re at a safe distance. Try to remember that if you ever find yourself in the proximity of bison. Be safe!

images from CusterStatePark FB