Sunday, August 7, 2011

And the headline could have read "Local Woman Killed In Buffalo Stampede!"

No could have.  I went to the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve on Saturday to take a buffalo tour.  This is a fairly popular tourist attraction in Northern Indiana and I knew  several people that had visited and highly recommended it. 

There were six of us on this particular tour truck, all seniors looking for a relaxing commune with nature.  It was just the freakishly perfect storm.  The buffalo were startled by something (later, the tour guide said it was the horses that some people were riding outside our fenced acreage) and they started running towards us, all 250+ of them!  Because of the way our truck was positioned,  backed close into a corner of their area, they had very little space to run around us and could not help but "bump" into our truck.  They weren't trying to cause us any harm, they were just in a panic mode and running in an uncontrolled frenzy.  This truck was just an open bed pickup that was outfitted with some planks for the visitors to sit on and short plank sides to lean against.  I don't know what the babies weighed.....maybe 200+ pounds, but the adults weighed up to 2000+ pounds.  2000 pounds running at 35 miles an hour, bumping into the truck was frightening.  In addition to feeling the ground shake and the truck being jostled, I could feel our truck lifting up.  It lasted about 20 to 30 seconds, but it seemed a bit like slow motion.  I instinctively went to the side of the truck that was lifting (like ballesting a tipping sail boat) although my weight would have done little against the tons of weight pounding us.  When it was over, I told my friend Jerry that I thought we were about to tip over and he said I was nuts.  The tour guide confirmed that I was right and that it was close to tipping!  Why we hadn't been warned about this possibility, I don't know.  The guide said it had happened once before, but it was extremely rare.  If it had tipped, we faced the possibility of being crushed by the truck or run over by the buffalo.....neither choice particularly apealing.  I was the only one (outside of the guide) that even realized the danger we were in, so we all went back to our casual chatting and asking questions about the buffalo.  Surreal. 

Amazingly, after this episode was over, everything was as peaceful as it was before the stampede. The buffalo are a naturally peaceful animal and they went back to grazing, scratching, swatting flies, and calmly checking us out as we watched them. 

 The calm before the storm!

You can see the peaceful expession of this face!  And I understand that they are very intelligent too.

There's more to this story, but that's enough to tell.  I would still go back and take the tour again, believing that it wouldn't happen twice!  Like lightening....right??!!


  1. That sounds scary!!! I'm so very happy that all ended well. I'm also glad that pictures and computers can't convey smells ;)

  2. Thanks, Kathleen. I hadn't thought about it, but there wasn't an odor at all and they were close enough to touch, not that you were allowed to touch them. They rotate their grazing fields and feed them some sort of suppliment that keeps them from having any parasites. Maybe all that keeps the odor down. Hmmmm.