I admit, this is not one of my best images.  But it has one of the best stories.  So there I am in Yellowstone with my camera set up to photograph the Oxbow of the Firehole River at sunset.  There are some clouds that are going to light up with color once the sun drops below the horizon, all I have to do is wait for the magic moment.

While I’m waiting, I notice a bull bison swimming/wading across the river.  No big deal, he’s 200 yards away.  He turns in my direction and starts headed down a game trail that’s worn deep in the riverbank.  I’m thinking to myself “Self, if he keeps on the trail I’m okay but if that sumbitch turns up the hill I need to leave.”  Well, sure enough he comes to a hot spring and turns up the hill and he’s no longer 200 yards away. (This image was shot with a 17mm lens so you can imagine the distance.)  He heads up the hill and stops about 20 feet to my right.  Now I’m no longer downwind from him and he smells me.  His little buff tail goes up and he starts making all sorts of unpleasant buffalo noises.  I’m looking around for a tree to climb if he charges me and the closest one is 40 yards away.  Not good…so I did what any photographer would do…I moved about 20 feet away from the buff.  Well, he takes a couple strides towards me.  Really not good.

At this point it’s all about priorities and my primary priority is to avoid having a bull buffalo stomp a mudhole in my behind so I evaluated the situation, figured there will be other sunsets, and headed back to the car.  Discretion IS the better part of valor.

What’s your most intense wildlife story?

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