Motorcycle Rally Goer Survives Wild Bison Attack Because Her Pants Fell Off

A woman attending a South Dakota motorcycle rally narrowly escaped after a wild bison charged at her Wednesday evening. Authorities claimed that the reason she survived the attack was because her pants fell off.

The woman, 54, was visiting Custer State Park in Custer County when she approached a bison calf, witnesses said. The victim, who is from Iowa, was in town to attend the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual event which brings thousands of motorcyclists together for several days.

The woman got off her motorcycle to approach the calf when an adult bison charged at her, witnesses said. The bison caught the woman's belt and jeans on its horn as it violently swung her around, according to a post on the Custer County Sheriff Facebook page.

She managed to escape death because her pants came off and she fell to the ground, unconscious, with the attacking bison running off to join the rest of the herd after the woman fell, the post said.

The post emphasized that visitors should remain in their vehicles and avoid getting too close to the bison. Just days before the incident occurred, another Facebook post had reminded residents and visitors that they should "not pet the fluffy cows - also known as Bison/Buffalo."

"Remember this is their park and we are the guests....please give them a break and keep your distance," according to the post.

Kobee Stalder, visitor services program manager for Custer State Park, told Newsweek that in addition to having thousands of additional visitors coming into the park because of the rally, the end of summer is also mating season for the bison.

"The bison herd are even more temperamental during this time of year just because it is mating season, so they tend to be more aggressive, especially the bulls," Stalder said.

He added that the bison in the state park are often found on the roadside, like they were at the time of the attack.

"When you have a motorcycle that has no protection like a vehicle has, it's a good reminder that people need to be aware of," Stalder said, referencing the sheriff's message that people should keep their distance from bison.

Witnesses caught the attack on camera, capturing the moment the bison picked up the woman and carried her across the road, appearing to toss her around until her pants fell off.

"Oh my god, it got her," a bystander said. "Yep, and it's dragging her," another said, narrating the attack. Several other motorcyclists had gathered, following the victim until they were able help her.

The video, posted to Reddit, ends with one man taking off his shirt to cover the woman's bare body. The woman sustained serious injuries to her pelvic area and was flown out of the park and to a hospital for treatment, Stalder said.

Bison in Yellowston
A group of cow bison and their newly born calves walk on the road as Montana gates to Yellowstone National Park opened for day trips on June 1, 2020 in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. A woman attending a South Dakota motorcycle rally narrowly escaped after a wild bison charged at her on August 12. William Campbell/Getty

This is not the first bison attack to occur this summer. In June, a 72-year-old woman from California was camping at Yellowstone Lake when she approached a bison, attempting to take its photograph. She reportedly got within 10 feet of the animal when it charged and gored her.

"Bison are wild animals that respond to threats by displaying aggressive behaviors like pawing the ground, snorting, bobbing their head, bellowing and raising their tail," said Yellowstone Senior Bison Biologist Chris Geremia in comments released by the park. "If that doesn't make the threat (in this instance it was a person) move away, a threatened bison may charge."

Wildlife experts recommend that people remain at least 25 yards away from bison, move away if they approach and run away or find cover if they charge.