Yellowstone tourist makes the mistake of approaching hormonal, irritable bison

Bison wallowing in Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

A tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park recently gave an excellent demonstration of how not to act around the park's bison, and narrowly avoided serious injury after earning the ire of one large bull. The incident (which you can watch below) was captured on video by Bill Bleecker, and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out bad behavior at US National Parks.

In the video, shot from the safety of a building, the man has approached the bison beside a parking lot, and seems to be trying to calm it while it paws the ground and shakes its head to force him back.

Bison, like all wild animals, need plenty of space (the exact amount varies per animal, but the National Park Service (NPS) advises at least 25 yards, or 23 meters). If you get too close, you might notice changes in the animal's behavior, including pawing the ground, tossing its head, snorting, raising its tail, and bluff charges intended to scare you away before it charges for real.

This time the visitor escaped unharmed, but not everyone who gets too close to a bison is so lucky. In fact, bison cause more injuries than any other animal at Yellowstone, including bears.

Two women suffered serious injuries at US National Parks within a week of each other this summer after being gored by bison.

The best way to avoid a run-in with an angry animal is to give them a wide berth and enjoy watching them from a safe distance using a pair of the best binoculars or a telephoto lens. It pays to be particularly careful right now, as it's currently the start of the bison mating season, known as the rut, when males are particularly unpredictable and aggressive.

For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

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.