The Black Hills, western prairies and Badlands are mostly wilderness, so here are a few tips. Many locals have lived and hiked here all their lives and have never seen a rattlesnake in the wild, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch your step. Seemingly sleepy buffalo will attack so keep a distance unless you can outrun a horse – because a buffalo can. Mountain lions are growing in numbers, but it’s rare for them to attack a human (if you do see one, don’t run; rise to your full height and look for a big stick). Grizzly bears are gone, along with wolves. Wear good hiking shoes so you don’t slip on rocky trails. Carry plenty of water on summer days, even if they begin with cool temps. And try not to get lost; carry a map and compass and pay attention to your surroundings.
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