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Raymond Reinke

Punishment is in for Oregon man caught on video taunting bison in Yellowstone National Park

MAMMOTH, Wyo. — An Oregon man who was caught on video taunting a bison in Yellowstone National Park in early August pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, Aug. 23, to four charges of misconduct in national parks.

Raymond Reinke, 55, of Pendleton, Ore., initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but changed his plea to guilty during Thursday's hearing. In exchange for a guilty plea, Reinke's charges were reduced from five misdemeanors to four, according to ABC Fox Montana, a Missoula, Mont. local TV station.

On July 31, a video taken by a park visitor sparked outrage after it showed Reinke walking in the middle of a park road — amidst halted traffic — taunting a bison. At one point in the video, Reinke can be seen on video puffing his chest and arms out and grunting at the large animal. The bison ran at Reinke two times, but never hurt him. Reinke was eventually issued a citation later that day.

On Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Reinke to 60 days in jail on a charge of harassing wildlife, a charge related to Reinke's incident where he taunted a bison, plus another 60 days for interfering with law enforcement and 10 days for disorderly conduct. Reinke received credit for already serving 21 days in jail.

During his court appearance Thursday, Reinke, who has publicly described himself as an alcoholic, said he was sorry to the buffalo and that "he didn't deserve what he did to him."

"I really didn't mean to hurt that buffalo," Reinke said.

The judge then weighed in on the situation following Reinke's apology.

"You chased and hounded the bison," the judge said. "You're lucky the bison didn't take care of it, and you're standing in front of me."

On top of his sentence, Reinke will also be required to serve five years of unsupervised probation where he is not allowed to use drugs or alcohol. He was also ordered to undergo treatment for drugs and alcohol and was banned from Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier parks during his probationary period.

Ross Torgerson

Digital Reporter for Forum Communications. Native of Moorhead, Minn. Have a question or story idea? Email me at rtorgerson@forumcomm.com. Follow me on Twitter @RossTorgerson

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