Man spotted crouching among bison at National Park and beckoning them closer

Bison herd at Custer State Park, Texas, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

A man has been recorded crouching among a herd of bison and holding out his hand to beckon the animals closer. The incident took place at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where a woman was hospitalized with serious abdominal injuries after being gored by a bison last month.

This man avoided injury, but only through luck. Bison are powerful animals and are currently in their mating season, known as the rut, when males are particularly unpredictable.

"He didn’t get charged but he put his hand out to try to get the bison to come closer, or to pretend he was feeding it," said wildlife videographer Navarre Marshall, who captured the moment and shared it via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a spectacular place to hike, and the wildlife is a star attraction, but the National Park Service (NPS) urges visitors to take care and treat plants and animals with respect.

"In Theodore Roosevelt National Park there is poison ivy, cactus, ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, scorpions, snakes (venomous and non-venomous), mountain lions, coyotes, badgers, porcupine, skunks, spiders, and a very fast very large animal known as the American bison," the NPS says.

"Be aware that bison often use the park’s backcountry trails. No one can predict what you will encounter while visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is up to you to prepare and pre-plan in order to protect yourself."

The safest place to watch animals like bison is from inside a vehicle, and if you're on foot, it's important to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away at all times. A bison can cover ground extremely quickly, and easily outrun a human. If in doubt, close one eye, hold out your arm, and give the bison a thumbs up. If you can completely hide the animal behind your thumb and it hasn't changed its behavior, you can stay to watch. If not, you'll need to back up.

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.