Careless Yellowstone tourist decides to pet bison – tour guide isn't impressed

Bison in snow at Yellowstone National Park, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

Park Rangers don't take kindly to visitors harassing wildlife, as one Yellowstone visitor learned the hard way. The incident was captured on camera by a tour guide leading a different group.

The clip. which you can watch below, shows a lone bison grazing by a parking lot, where it has attracted a small audience. Half a dozen people can be seen standing much too close for comfort, but the animal seems indifferent until one woman reaches out to stroke its head.

The tour guide decides he can't stand by, and admonishes the guests for invading the animal's space. "I hate to be that guy," he tells his tour group afterwards,

The video was originally posted by Yellowstone Hiking Guides four years ago, but has begun recirculating on social media thanks to Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks.

This time the bison remained calm, but not all close encounters end peacefully. Bison are responsible for more injuries at Yellowstone than any other animal, including bears and snakes.

The National Park Service recommends staying inside your car for the best and safest wildlife viewing experience. You should always stay at least 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves. and 25 yards (32 meters) away from other animals including elk and bison. 

If you're not sure just how far that is, close one eye, hold out your arm, and give the bison a thumbs-up. You should be able to completely obscure the animal with your thumb. If not, you need to back up.

"Give bison space when they are near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area," advises the NPS. "If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity. "

If a bison is agitated, it may bob its head, make bluff charges, paw at the ground, bellow, or snort. These are all signs that a real charge is imminent, so immediately run or walk away, deploying your bear spray if the bison is following you. For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.

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.