Careless tourists use huge bison as photo prop at Yellowstone National Park

Bull bison at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Two men have been caught using a particularly large bison as a prop to pose with at Yellowstone National Park, taking turns standing with their back to the animal just a few feet away. The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors to give these powerful animals plenty of space (at least 23 yards), and ignoring this advice can result in serious injury or even death.

This particular incident happened during the summer, and was shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone. It comes as a timely reminder to treat animals with respect as snow plowing wraps up and the park prepares to reopen its roads for the spring hiking season

In the clip, which you can watch below, the two hikers have stayed on the boardwalk, but that doesn't mean they're safe. Bison can easily hop onto boardwalks (even if their weight causes the wood to splinter), so you should double back or find an alternative trail if one blocks your path.

Taking an alternative route may be inconvenient, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. In 2022, a woman was gored by a bison after she encountered a herd blocking her path in Caprock Canyons State Park.

Rebecca Clark was hiking solo and decided to try and sneak past the animals rather than take a detour, but was tossed to the ground and suffered a puncture wound to her back. She shared a video of the attack online as a warning to other hikers who might be tempted to take the same risk.

If you're not sure whether you're at a safe distance, the NPS suggests holding out your arm, closing one eye, and giving the bison a thumbs up. If you can completely hide the animal behind your thumb, you're safe to stay and watch (a long camera lens or a pair of binoculars will help). If not, it's time to back up.

For more advice, take a look at our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison, and wildlife safety: eight tips for surprise 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.