Drunken man arrested after kicking Yellowstone bison

Bison crossing road, Yellowstone National Park, Canyon Village, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty Images / Seth K. Hughes)

A drunken tourist from Idaho who kicked a Yellowstone bison that then attacked and injured him has been arrested and could face thousands of dollars in fines and / or jail time.

Yellowstone National Park has issued a statement saying on April 21 rangers responded to call reporting that a man was harassing a herd of bison seven miles east of the park’s west entrance.

Witnesses claimed 40-year-old Clarence Yoder, of Idaho Falls, reportedly kicked one bison in the leg then the bison turned on Yoder and gored him. (If you’re not drunk, here’s how to avoid being gored by a bison.)

Yoder had already left the scene in a car driven by another man, but rangers caught up with the car and stopped the  in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yoder was arrested and charged with being under the influence of alcohol, disorderly conduct, approaching wildlife and disturbing wildlife. The driver of the vehicle Yoder traveled in, 37-year-old McKenna Bass, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was also arrested for driving under the influence, interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation and disturbing wildlife.

The exact nature of Yoder’s injury was not revealed but described as “minor”. Rangers took him to a medical facility where he was medically evaluated, treated and released from medical care before being transported to the Gallatin County Detention Center. 

Yoder and Bass appeared in court on April 22 and pleaded innocent to the charges. If found guilty, Yoder could face fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

This is the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in Yellowstone in 2024 (the last happened in July last year) which is pretty amazing considering how foolishly some tourists act around bison, despite warnings to keep their distance. 

The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors to always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from bison and elk, and 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears and wolves. The safest place to watch animals is from inside your vehicle – though a bison can still do serious damage to a car if aggravated.