A conversation tonight reminded me of a scene I saw in South Dakota a few years ago: A pair of German tourists in the Black Hills, attempting to separate a mother buffalo from her new spring calf, so they could pose their children with the calf for a photograph.

The scene is still vivid in my memory. The mother buffalo snorting, the herd starting to look up and circle around her, the males beginning to stamp. Our attempt to call the tourists away loudly enough that they understood their danger, but not loudly enough to add to the buffalos’ reaction. In the end, the mother began to swing her head, knocking against the woman and, thankfully, causing the family to run back to their car.

Now, my question, meant seriously. How many generations do people have to be removed from rural life before they forget, to this extent, one of the most ancient lessons of humankind: Don’t get between an animal and her young? Especially not in the spring.

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