Bison sends hiker sprawling at Yellowstone – but they keep on snapping pictures

Bull bison facing forward
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You might think that the problem of hikers approaching wildlife dangerously close for photos began with the inception of the smartphone, but people were risking life and limb for the perfect snap long before even the earliest brick-sized devices made their way into people's hands.

Vintage footage shared via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks this week shows that little has changed over the years, and some visitors have always taken an unhealthy interest in photographing large, dangerous animals at close range.

The video, which you can see below, was shot at Yellowstone National Park, and shows a visitor strolling up to a particularly large bison, camera in hand. Once within range, they turn their back and begin fiddling with settings on the device.

The animal clearly doesn't appreciate this imposition and charges, sending them running and eventually sprawling on the ground. The visitor is unharmed, but rather than retreat to a safe distance, they simply snap pictures from their new vantage point.

Little has changed over the years, and each year there are still reports of people being gored by bison after getting too close. Last summer, two people were injured by the animals within a week at US National Parks. Both survived, but suffered serious abdominal injuries.

With roads at Yellowstone due to reopen to the public in a few days' time, the National Park Service (NPS) took the opportunity last week to remind people not to endanger themselves by taking selfies with wild animals.

Visitors should always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison and elk at Yellowstone, and 100 yards (91 meters) from carnivores like wolves and bears. Guidelines for other parks vary depending on the wildlife and the nature of the terrain, so make sure to check before visiting.

"The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be," warns the NPS. "The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car."

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.