Careless photographer seen creeping up behind bison at State Park

American bison standing in field
(Image credit: Getty)

A man has been caught on camera trying to sneak up behind a huge bison for a better photo at a State Park in Utah. The man left the trail to approach the animal, wandering across the rangeland while onlookers watched in disbelief. 

Although bison are usually docile and prefer to avoid close encounters with people, like all wild animals they can be unpredictable, particularly if they are startled or feel threatened, which could easily happen if they are approached from behind.

The incident (which you can watch below) was recorded by Ryann Martins and shared via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty, often involving wildlife. Other recent close calls have included tourists crowding around bison, trying to pet them, and even jumping out at bears.

There are between 500 and 700 bison on Antelope Island at any one time, so you're likely to encounter them when hiking. Utah State Parks Office urges visitors to take care around the animals, and show them respect. 

"If you see a bison and it stops what it is doing and starts paying attention to you, you are too close and should back away slowly," it warns. "If you see a bison in the distance, do not walk across the rangeland to get closer to it. Take your photos from a safe distance."

If you come across a bison on the trail while hiking, you are advised to either back away and return the way you came, or leave the trail and go around, giving the animal a very wide berth. You should never try to sneak past, even if it means cutting your hike short.

“We’ve got trail restrictions on Antelope Island in the backcountry, but safety trumps those rules," says park manager Jeremy Shaw. "If you are in the backcountry hiking and you come across any wildlife that’s in your path, we urge you to travel around it. However close you think you should be [to the wildlife], double it. That’s how far back you should stay."

Last year, a woman was seriously injured after passing too close to a pair of bison during a hike in Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas. While recovering from a puncture wound to her back, Rebecca Clark posted a video of the moment she was attacked as a warning to others, admitting she was too close.

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.