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A totally new post in this long running series of guidance notes for my urban warrior collective.

One way to avoid this problem is to live on the continent of North America. There are no wild buffalo there. There are quite a few bison, but the buffalo is not an indigenous wild animal over there. So you’re safe. At least from buffalo attack, but you don’t want to get in the bad books of a bison either. You may recollect that I told you some time ago that the collective noun for bison is a gang, and if you don’t remember then shame on you. http://wp.me/p2C8Zz-j6

Anyway this collective noun is totally appropriate. Bison are well hard. They’re extremely stupid but tough, just like a Millwall supporter. If one of those bulky ruminants ever calls out to you ‘Come on down if you think you’re hard enough!’ don’t even think about it.

During the rutting season, the males establish social orders by headbutting each other. It’s not a simple Glasgow kiss either. They run at each other and hit heads. Given the size of a bison’s head, and the immensely powerful forelegs and shoulders, that has to hurt. It’s not unknown for losers to die as a result of the fight. I told you they were thick.

A bison facing a human will not back down. The words back down are not in the bison lexicon. Indeed the only words in the bison lexicon are food, sex, and I don’t know what that bang was but I hurt and suddenly I appear to be bleeding. This inability to back down from humans, to run away only when seriously spooked, no doubt accounts in part for the fact that they were hunted to near extinction.

So big, hostile, thick as two short planks. Seems to sum them up, doesn’t it? But the other night, during one of my recurring bouts of insomnia, I was channel surfing at about 2:00AM, and came across an extraordinary documentary on BBC4. In it were examples of strange friendships between species. And one of these was Jim Sautner, an Alberta man, and his pet bison Bailey Junior. You’d be correct in assuming here that there was a Bailey Senior earlier on. Both were allowed into Jim’s old house, where they behaved impeccably, didn’t crap on the floor, never knocked things over, drank from the kitchen sink, and liked to watch television. Jim doesn’t allow Junior into his new house, which made me a bit sad.

Final comment from Jim. ‘He’s really low maintenance. He eats hay and oats…. All I have to do is blow an airline over him to get rid of the dust in his coat if we’re going in for a show.’

I wouldn’t try that on a wild one, I don’t think.