Some things never change, including people's willingness to put their lives in danger to get a close-up with the wildlife at Yellowstone National Park. Cameras may be more accessible now thanks to smartphones, but a viral video has resurfaced this week showing that even in decades past, park visitors would risk life and limb for the perfect shot of a bison.
The video, which you can watch below, was shared on YouTube by Luke Vonderharr and on Instagram by TouronsOfYellowstone – an account that highlights examples of bad behavior in US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty. More recent examples have included people trying to take selfies with bears and snap close-ups of elk.
A photo posted by on
In the clip, a woman approaches a bison, compact camera in hand, and attempts to take a photo from just a few feet away. The animal makes a bluff charge to scare her, causing her to stumble and fall on the uneven ground, but rather than take the opportunity to calmly leave the scene and avoid antagonizing the bison further, she gets up and resumes snapping.
Staying safe in bison country
The National Park Service (NPS) explains that bison have injured more people at Yellowstone than any other animal, including bears and snakes.
"The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be," says the NPS. "The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk."
It's important to be particularly careful in the early fall during the bison's mating season (known as the rut). Males will be particularly territorial and prone to aggression at this time, as they compete for dominance and the right to mate.
It also pays to be careful and patient in the spring. The first calves (also known as 'red dogs' due to their ginger-colored fur) have been spotted at the park this year, including one that brought traffic to a half last week when it decided to take a break in the middle of a road while the rest of the herd surrounded it for protection.
For more advice, see our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.