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Photographer's Note

report about the 4 days in the Yellowstone National Park would not be complete without mentioning American bison (bison bison). they're everywhere. on the roads causing traffick jams, near the geyzers enjoying warmth, swimming in the Yellowstone river, or simply staring at you open-mouthed (if you see a lady-bizon staring at you for more than 5 minutes, you know there's something seriously wrong with your make-up). this particular gentleman greeted us just inside the Park when we arrived, and moments after I took this shot I had to rush and close the passanger-side car door, since he did not seem to mind going THROUGH it had I left the door open.

since bison are almost a symbol of Yellowstone, they deserve a longer note. firs of all, these awesome beasts are huge. a bison can reach up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) tall, 3 meters (10 ft) long and weigh 400 to 1000 kg (900 to 2,100 pounds). the biggest specimens on record have weighed as much as 1,130 kg (2,500 pounds). bison are considered among the most dangerous animals you can meet in the various U.S. and Canadian National Parks, especially Yellowstone. although they are not carnivorous, they will attack humans if provoked. bison appear slow because of their lethargic movements, but they can easily outrun humans they have been observed running as fast as 56.3 km (35 miles) per hour. between 1978 and 1992, over FOUR TIMES as many people in Yellowstone National Park were killed or injured by bison as by bears (12 by bears, 56 by bison).

bison were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century and were reduced to a few hundred by the mid-1880s. the main reason they were hunted was for their skins, with the rest of the animal left behind to decay on the ground. bison skins were used for industrial machine belts, clothing such as robes, and rugs; there was also a huge export trade to Europe of bison hides. Old West bison hunting was very often a big commercial enterprise, involving organized teams of one or two professional hunters, backed by a team of skinners, gun cleaners, cartridge reloaders, cooks, wranglers, blacksmiths, security guards, teamsters, and numerous horses and wagons. men were even employed to recover and re-cast lead bullets taken from the carcasses. many of these professional hunters, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, killed over a hundred animals at a single stand and many thousands in their career. one professional hunter killed over 20,000 by his own count. a good hide could bring $3 in Dodge City, Kansas, and a very good one (the heavy winter coat) could sell for $50 in an era when a laborer would be lucky to make a dollar a day.

the railroad industry also wanted bison herds culled or eliminated. herds of bison on tracks could damage locomotives when the trains failed to stop in time. herds often took shelter in the artificial cuts formed by the grade of the track winding though hills and mountains in harsh winter conditions. as a result, bison herds could delay a train for days.

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RAW, ISO 200, 200mm focal lenght, pattern metering.

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Additional Photos by Kristine KL (avene) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1586 W: 134 N: 2932] (12675)
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