Hiking in North Dakota is hard; even harder when you are attacked by an American bison.

Last week, Minot Airmen Justin Valentine, Jake Nixon, and Christopher Velazquez were camping at Juniper Campground when they heard a distant call for help. Not sure of what they were hearing, the men continued to listen.  The voice turned out to be that of Michael Turk, 65, of Juneau, Alaska, hollering for help.

The incident happened Friday, June 30, about 10:30 p.m. The airmen, still awake and enjoying their campfire, found it hard to believe the silence of the night was being interrupted by a call for distress.  Doing what well trained warriors do, they grabbed their flashlights and weapons, and headed out into the dark.

About a quarter of a mile out, they saw a light that turned out to be from Turk’s flashlight.  The injured hiker was still yelling, Bleeding, buffalo, call 9-1-1.”  Airman Velazquez, who had taken the lead, messaged for his buddies to call 9-1-1.  It was about then that he noticed the bison was between himself and the injured man.

Turk indicated that he was bleeding badly and needed immediate assistance but the bison wasn’t budging.

In fact, it began walking toward the downed hiker.  Extreme efforts to distract the huge animal, including discharging a firearm into the ground, seemed to have no effect.

Some minutes later however, the bison lost interest in his victim and sauntered off, but the damage to  Michael Turk was done.  The Alaska man was in serious trouble, bleeding badly from one leg.

Another camper arrived on scene and used his shirt as a tourniquet to quell Turk’s bleeding before Velazquez and a handful of other campers were able to assist Turk off the butte.  There is no word on the hiker’s current condition.

Full story as published in the Minot Daily News can be read here.