A recent collision involving a bison and a large SUV in Yellowstone National Park should serve as a reminder to park visitors to drive extra carefully at night.
The top image, captured two weeks ago by Dianna Borgmier, shows extensive damage to a Nissan Armada hours after it struck a bison near Yellowstone Lake at about 10:30 p.m.
The bison, Borgmier explained, did not survive.
“This is why you don’t need to drive after dark,” she wrote on the Yellowstone Visitor Facebook page. “Bison hit, killed, I know of four bison in the last few days. Way to many! The road is theirs.”
Yellowstone bison crosses road during the day. Photo: ©Pete Thomas
Borgmier told For The Win Outdoors that the vehicle was towed to a repair shop run by her husband at the Fishing Bridge service area. “He has a lot of pictures from the last four years of bison hits in the park,” Borgmier said.
Borgmier did not know if anyone inside the vehicle suffered injuries.
A park spokesman had not, at the time of this post, provided details about the incident or answered a request for an estimate of how many bison are struck by vehicles annually inside the park.
More than 100 comments accompany the Yellowstone Visitor Facebook page, some pertaining to close calls tourists have experienced, and others suggesting that too many motorists speed through the uncrowded park at night.
“At night it is near impossible to see a bison on the road,” one comment reads.
Yellowstone is home to more than 4,500 bison. It’s the only location in the lower 48 states that has had a free-ranging bison population since prehistoric times.
The iconic critters are revered by visitors, in part, because of their omnipresence. But also because of their colossal appearance and casual, sometimes goofy demeanor as they roam the landscape.
They are the heaviest land animals in North America and can weigh 2,000 pounds, but they’re no match for a fast-moving, 5,000-pound SUV.
The animals are easy to spot during the day, but night drivers sometimes do not see them until the animals are illuminated in their headlamps.
Night driving, while not recommended, is fairly common as motorists sometimes use the park as a thoroughfare, or simply get caught after dark while exploring.
The maximum speed limit in Yellowstone National Park is 45 mph.