This POV video shows what it's like to get bowled over by an angry bison

Close-up of bison in field vocalizing
(Image credit: Getty)

Bison injure more people at Yellowstone National Park than any other animal, including bears, snakes and wolves, and one visitor has shared a video showing exactly what can happen if you get too close to one of these mighty creatures.

The clip, shared on Sunday via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, shows a person trying to sneak a close look at a large bull from behind a small cluster of trees. Unfortunately for them, the animal notices the movement and charges, sending them tumbling head over heels, camera in hand. They are exceptionally lucky and seem to be unharmed, leaning against a tree for a moment to steady themselves before leaving.

Not everyone is so fortunate. Within recent weeks, two people have been seriously injured by bison at US National Parks. The National Park Service (NPS) is investigating exactly what happened, but both individuals suffered serious abdominal injuries when they were charged and gored.

According to the NPS there is usually at least one incident a year, and in 2022 three people were gored by bison at Yellowstone within the space of a month.

Visitors to Yellowstone are warned to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison and elk at all times, and remember that wild animals may seem calm, but their mood can change in an instant. The wisest place to view wildlife is from within your vehicle. A the sharp horns of a riled-up bison can tear through car bodywork like a can opener, but you'll be safe inside.

Safety during the rut

The bison at Yellowstone are now in their mating season (known as the rut). As the NPS explains, it's a great time to see the animals in their prime as "mature males display their dominance by bellowing, wallowing, and engaging in fights with other bulls. 

However, the animals can be more aggressive than usual when hormones are running high, so it pays to be particularly cautious. Warning signs like vocalizations, raising of the tail, pawing the ground, and making bluff charges are are warnings that a bison is aggravated and likely to charge for real. 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.