Bison watching is one of the most popular activities on Antelope Island, but things took a tragic turn on Saturday when a 30-year-old Davis County man was trampled.

Utah State Parks and Recreation says it was after the animal approached the man on a trail.

In the wake of this incident, ABC4 talked to a bison rancher to understand how people should interact with these animals.

“First thing, they are a wild animal. Keep that in mind. They may appear tame, but at any time I can’t even predict after 20 years when they’re going to go a little berserk,” said Richard Jorgenson, owner of Hi Mountain Bison in Peoa. “They don’t like humans. They view us as a threat.”

One of the most important things when it comes to safety is keeping your distance and being respectful.

“If they’re having calves be extremely careful because that time of year if you get between a cow and a calf, it’s like a moose she will come at you and she will stop at nothing because you’re a danger to her.”

Jorgenson says the animals are especially sensitive if one in the herd is pregnant.

“They usually calf in March, April, and a little bit into May occasionally they go into June.”

He has this advice for anyone planning to bison watch in the future.

“If you’re doing videos or if you want to do pictures stay in the vehicle to do that or stay very close to the vehicle.”

If you find yourself cornered by a bison, Jorgenson recommends finding something that will make a lot of noise like a garbage can lid and something to hit it with to try and scare them off.


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