Bison baiting leads to Pendleton man’s arrest


The Pendleton man caught on video while harassing a bison in Yellowstone National Park earlier this week was arrested Thursday in Glacier National Park.

Raymond Reinke, 55, actually scored a trifecta, managing to get cited in three national parks during the past week. It was a combination of drawing attention to himself, coordination among the park rangers and a little bit of luck that culminated in his arrest.

“This isn’t an everyday occurrence that this teamwork happens, but it does when we have opportunities like this,” said Lauren Alley, a spokesperson for Glacier National Park. “Our rangers do take this very seriously.”

Reinke was first arrested by officers at Grand Teton National Park on July 28 for an alleged drunk and disorderly incident. After spending the night in the Teton County Jail, he was released on bond.

Three days later, Reinke was in Yellowstone National Park, where a vehicle in which he was a passenger was stopped for a traffic violation. According to park officials, Reinke appeared to be intoxicated and argumentative, and they cited him for not wearing his seatbelt.

Park officials said they believe it was after this traffic stop that Reinke encountered the bison as vehicles stopped to let it walk down the road. In a video that’s since gone viral and sparked outrage internationally, a man who officials said is Reinke can be seen wearing blue shorts, a turquoise shirt, and white socks without shoes.

The man walked toward the bison, which at that point was ambling down the side of the road. He waved his arms like a matador, and the bison charged at him. The man ran in a circle while the bison stood in the road, and waved his arms again, prompting the bison to charge at him again. The video cuts away as people are yelling “No! No!” and “Oh my god! Get out of there!”

Eventually, the bison walks away.

Numerous visitors reported the wildlife harassment, and rangers found Reinke later that evening and issued a citation for a court appearance. At that point they hadn’t seen the video, but once they learned of his history and saw the “egregious nature of the wildlife violation,” his bond was revoked.

Reinke had told rangers he was planning to travel to Glacier National Park, and officers issued a “be on the lookout” alert for his vehicle. While they were searching, rangers also responded to a disturbance at the Many Glacier Hotel where two guests were arguing in the dining room.

It just so happened that Reinke allegedly was one of the people arguing.

He was arrested on federal charges and taken to Mammoth Hot Springs, where he made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court Friday morning. Altogether, he faces five charges including being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that endangers himself or others; interference/resisting; making unreasonable noise; storing an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle; and disturbing wildlife.

He remains jailed, with his next hearing set for 11 a.m. Aug. 8.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk praised the work of the rangers.

“We appreciate the collaboration of our fellow rangers in Glacier and Grand Teton national parks on this arrest,” Wenk said. “Harassing wildlife is illegal in any national park.”

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