Video: Yellowstone tourist ignores warning signs of seriously irritated bison

Bison at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park recently was spotted not only getting much too close to several bison with camera in hand, but also ignoring the fact that one animal was particularly annoyed by his presence.

The incident was caught on camera by Yellowstone Adventure Tours (opens in new tab), though the man in question wasn't one of the company's clients. It was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone (opens in new tab), which serves to highlight examples of bad behavior at US National Parks, often involving wildlife.

Past incidents have included park visitors taunting elk (and getting an antler through their car tire), chasing bears, and attempting to pet and ride bison.

The National Park Service (NPS) warns all visitors to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison at all times, for your safety and theirs. If you're not sure how far that is, close one eye, hold out your arm and give the bison a thumbs-up. If you can completely obscure the animal with your thumb, then you're in the clear. If not, it's time to back up and give it more space.

Like all wild animals, bison are naturally wary of humans and prefer to avoid confrontation, but can become aggressive if they feel threatened. According to the NPS (opens in new tab), they have injured more people at Yellowstone than any other animal, and some people have even died after being tossed in the air.

This time the park visitor escaped unscathed, but three people were seriously injured by bison (opens in new tab) at Yellowstone last year after getting too close.

Signs that a bison is agitated include bluff charging, head bobbing, pawing at the ground, and snorting. A raised tail (like that of the bison in the video) is also an indication that the animal is upset by your presence, and may soon charge.

For more advice on how to stay safe, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.

Cat Ellis

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).