Let wildlife be wildlife: keep your distance

RAPID CITY, S.D. -Fall is here and a few wild animals are either in rutting season or preparing for it. This means they’re a little more aggressive than usual.

While deer, elk, and bison look like cute, sweet animals, we must remember that they are wildlife. Trying to pet them, feed them, or get between them when they’re angry can become dangerous quickly.

“They either consider you a competitor for their food or a competitor for their mate. Either case can turn out to be not fun for anyone involved,” said Keith Wintersteen, a naturalist with SD Game, Fish, and Parks.

These animals are used to searching for food, which is why it is important not to feed them.  When they find a reliable food source they typically come back with friends.

“If you’ve got one deer feeding on whatever you’re putting out, pretty soon you’ll have two, then you’ll have 20,” said Wintersteen.

He continued with, “they’ll actually wait for you to bring the food out. If you’re not bringing it out fast enough they’ll express their displeasure.”

Deer can also become a problem for drivers. They jump in front of moving cars and cost drivers money and their own safety.

“They can come flying out of nowhere and the best advice I can give you is just apply the brakes, don’t try to avoid them, just drive right through them because the last thing we want is any humans to be injured,” suggested Wintersteen.

The takeaway, whether it’s elk, deer, or bison, just let nature run its course.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News