"I was definitely the idiot" says Utah man gored while trying to pet bison

Bison at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A Utah man has shared his regret after being gored by a bison while out walking with his girlfriend. Halen Carbajal, who works with the Utah Conservation Corps, says he was "definitely the idiot in this scenario" after letting curiosity get the better of him and attempting to pet the animal.

As the New York Post explains, Carbajal was walking home from an early Thanksgiving celebration with his partner when he noticed a herd of bison on a neighbor's property, and decided to cross a fence to get a better look. Satisfied, he turned around and headed back, but one animal followed.

"I was like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool," Carbajal told KUTV. "I kind of did want to pet him, so I was just being naïve about the whole thing, so I did that, and yeah, he just rocked me."

Carbajal managed to escape, but suffered a broken rib, lacerated liver, injured lung, and an 8in wound to his stomach. He spent a week in the hospital before being discharged to continue recovering at home.

Bison safety

Bison might bear some resemblance to domestic cattle, but they can be dangerous and unpredictable. This summer, two women were gored by bison within a week at US National Parks, prompting the NPS to remind visitors never to pet the fluffy cows.

"Stay more than 25 yards (23m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes - and at least 100 yards (91m) away from bears and wolves," said the NPS. "If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in proximity."

For more advice, see our guides 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.