Man attacked on North Fork by … a rooster

Posted 5/21/20

While trying to inspect a North Fork home last week, Rick Fisher unexpectedly found himself under attack from a vicious creature.

“This one was out for blood,” Fisher recounted.

The …

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Man attacked on North Fork by … a rooster

As Rick Fisher went to inspect a cabin in the Eagle Creek area of the North Fork, this rooster in the foreground — seemingly backed up by its two comrades — launched an unexpected attack. Fisher keeps bear spray on hand, but not anything specifically designed for keeping chickens at bay.
As Rick Fisher went to inspect a cabin in the Eagle Creek area of the North Fork, this rooster in the foreground — seemingly backed up by its two comrades — launched an unexpected attack. Fisher keeps bear spray on hand, but not anything specifically designed for keeping chickens at bay.
Photo courtesy Rick Fisher
Posted

While trying to inspect a North Fork home last week, Rick Fisher unexpectedly found himself under attack from a vicious creature.

“This one was out for blood,” Fisher recounted.

The area east of Yellowstone National Park is widely known as a haven for grizzly bears, but it was a far different threat that launched itself at Fisher last week: a feisty rooster.

“[I’m] always watching my back when in the North Fork area but didn’t know the real threat would be multicolored and with feathers,” he quipped.

In an interview, Fisher admitted he may have inadvertently provoked the fowl encounter. He was taken a little aback when he spotted the makeshift flock of three roosters on May 13 — not far from the residence he was inspecting in the Eagle Creek area, about 7 miles east of Yellowstone.

Fisher snapped a couple photographs of the birds, and now speculates the leader of the pack could have been unhappy about getting its picture taken.

“I was trying to get it closer [for a better photo] and it was scratching and eating, so I scratched with my feet on the dirt, thinking it would come and get whatever I scratched up,” Fisher said. “But I think that showed some aggression or something on my part. So it was probably all my fault.”

The lead rooster, mostly white with some green and brown, proceeded to jump onto Fisher’s leg — leading with its talons. He knocked the chicken away, then stuck his inspection bag between him and the peeved poultry. He escaped by crossing a walking bridge over the nearby river with no injuries and “dignity almost intact.”

“I was just laughing the whole time,” Fisher said. “Come on — you mean I have to hurry up on this walk so I can escape from this rooster?”

By the time he finished the home inspection and returned to his truck, the flock was nowhere to be found.

Fisher did call the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, explaining he wasn’t sure if it was the kind of thing he should report, but “even if I shouldn’t, I think you’ll laugh and it will be OK.”

He also made sure to leave a dramatic pause when reporting that he’d been attacked .... by a rooster.

Fisher said the Game and Fish representative gamely took his report and asked a couple questions, including, was it a domestic chicken?

“I think it started out that way,” he quipped.

Based on a prior Facebook post — in which a Wapiti area resident sought a taker for their roosters — Fisher theorizes that the poultry were abandoned in the area, but he doesn’t know that for a fact.

With the attack involving a domestic chicken, the Game and Fish — whose charge is to deal with wildlife — did not take any further action.

“For an instance of a domesticated animal ... having an encounter with a human, that’s outside our purview,” explained Tara Hodges, the department’s information and education specialist in Cody.

Fisher said that in his conversation with the Game and Fish, the department’s representative did ask whether he’d been attacked by a rooster before.

“And I had to say yes,” Fisher admitted, recalling a time that his father-in-law’s rooster once kept him stuck up a ladder while doing some work.

He added that, “I’ve never been attacked by a bear, but chickens on the other hand, that’s two in 50 years.”

Fisher knows another North Fork resident spotted the chickens in the area the same day he did, but beyond that, their fate and future are unknown.

“You’ve got wolves, bears, coyotes, foxes — what could go wrong for three chickens?” he said, adding that they “may be grizzly food, but I would put my money on the white one with the evil eye.”

Asked whether the Game and Fish has any formal guidance for chicken encounters, like it does for bears, Hodges confirmed with a laugh that the agency does not.

For his part, Fisher thinks you’re better off avoiding eye contact — and “you’re definitely not supposed to scratch the ground.”

He also made sure to pass the word along to his client.

“I didn’t write it on my inspection, but I did tell the person I was inspecting the home [for] to, ‘Be aware when you’re getting close to the walking bridge,’” Fisher said.

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