A few weeks back I shared the story of a recent visitor to Yellowstone National Park who made the very foolish move of getting out of his vehicle to taunt a bison. The incident was captured on video, and soon went viral across the Internet. The man was later identified as none other than 55-year old Raymond Reinke, who had also been cited for drunk and disorderly conduct in Grand Teton National Park just a few days earlier. Eventually authorities caught up with him at Glacier National Park and arrested him. Now, just a few weeks later, he’s been sentenced for his actions and it looks like Reinke is going to spend some time behind bars.
According to reports, Reinke has pled guilty to the charges brought against him, which included disturbing wildlife in a national park, and will now serve 130 days in jail. The judge hearing the case gave him 60 days for disturbing wildlife charge, 60 additional days for interfering with law enforcement, and 10 days for disorderly conduct. He’s been credited with 21 days served for the time he spent in jail after his arrest.
Reinke initially pled not guilty, but changed his plea in order to get a reduced sentence. At the hearing, he reportedly issued an apology to the bison, saying “I’m sorry to the buffalo. He didn’t deserve what I did to him. I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to hurt that buffalo.”
Judge Mark Carmen replied to that statement by telling Reinke “You chased and hounded the bison. You’re lucky the bison didn’t take care of it, and you’re standing in front of me.”
Reinke, who has described himself as an alcoholic, will also serve five years of probation and has been ordered to undergo drug and alcohol counseling. He has also been banned from entering Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Teton during that probationary period.
Hopefully this story sends a message to others who tend to get a little too close to the wildlife in national parks. These animals are extremely dangerous and need to be left alone. Yet every year, usually during the peak travel season, we get a few of these stories about individuals not abiding by the rules or their own personal safety, and wandering too close to these creatures. I’m glad the judges took this seriously and maybe now a few others will think before they act.
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