A photographer and documentary filmmaker captured a frightening moment at Yellowstone National Park recently, when a large male bison charged directly at his car. Wallace De Young (opens in new tab) shared the video (which you can watch below) on YouTube with the caption "Bison shows tourists who’s in charge!!"
In the clip, the animal runs directly towards the car and pauses inches from the front bumper. De Young keeps his cool and decides to remain still rather than back up, and the animal eventually leaves without ramming.
The bison rutting season is now over, but like all wild animals, they are unpredictable and can react badly if they are startled or feel threatened. Many elk have been seen charging at cars this year (including one particularly persistent bull at Rocky Mountain National Park), and it's thought this may be due to mistaking their own reflection for a rival male.
Around 5,450 bison were counted at Yellowstone National Park last summer, including two primary breeding herds. They spend the warmer months grazing in the park's grasslands, before moving to the park's hydrothermal areas and along the Madison River. Blacktail Deer Plateau, Tower, and the Gardiner Basin for the winter.
According to the National Park Service (opens in new tab), the animals are capable of running at speeds up to 30mph. Males (known as bulls) can weigh up to 2,000lb, while females (cows) can be up to 1,000lb.
Seeing bison can be a highlight of a trip to Yellowstone, but it's important to give them plenty of space. The NPS reports that bison injure more people at the park than any other animal, including bears and snakes. The park even published a poster earlier this year warning visitors not to pet the 'fluffy cows'.
Guests at the park should stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison and elk at all times, and never approach or frighten any wildlife. For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.
- Best binoculars and monoculars: enjoy wildlife from a safe distance
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).
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