A man received only minor injuries after striking a large male bison with his vehicle while traveling northbound on Highway 191 out of West Yellowstone Sunday evening.
West Yellowstone Police Department dispatchers received a call at 8:20 p.m. alerting them about the wreck, which happened north of the West Yellowstone Transfer Station near mile marker 5.
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Sargent, Hebgen Basin Fire District firefighters, National Park Service officials and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden for the West Yellowstone area Jim Smolczynski responded to the wreck.
Hitting and severely injuring a bison wasn't all the man involved in the wreck had to worry about that night. He had a warrant out for his arrest in response to a citation issued by the Bozeman Police Department in addition to the vehicular accident, according to West Yellowstone Police Chief Gordon Berger.
A friend posted the man's bail and he was released from police custody on Monday, according to Berger.
"The man was arrested, incarcerated and bonded out," he said.
The fate of the bull bison wasn't as fortunate and he had to be euthanized Sunday night.
The man's vehicle, a BMW sedan, struck the bison from behind, which suffered injuries to its backend that included a broken rear leg, according to Smolczynski.
"He was a pretty big bull. I'd estimate his weight to be 1,700 or 1,800 pounds," Smolczynski said.
Drivers should use extra caution while traveling on the highways and watch for wildlife on and near the roads, according to Smolczynski. Travelers are reminded to pay extra attention in these areas with warning signs posted along the highways.
The junction between Highway 287 and Highway 191 is a high traffic area with bison this time of year as they begin their spring migration and scavenge for food, Smolczynski noted.
Another vehicle also struck a female bison around 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening near the intersection of Highway 191 and Ecology Lane, also near the transfer station. The cow was already deceased when Smolczynski arrived to recover the animal's body.
Another buffalo was also wandering the streets of the downtown section of West Yellowstone early last Friday morning. A West Yellowstone police officer followed the bison traveling westbound down Yellowstone Avenue to make sure that it got safely out of town. It was last seen on the outskirts of town along Highway 20.
"I'd just say be very vigilant along that stretch to town (from the north) because there are probably 70 bison out there now," Smolczynski added.