Yellowstone hiker gives picture-perfect demonstration of how NOT to photograph bison

Bison standing in river at Yellowstone National Park, facing photographer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bison injure more people at Yellowstone National Park than any other animal, and one tourist has delivered a perfect demonstration of why. While visiting the park, the man decided to get some close-up pictures of the wildlife. and approached a herd of bison so close, he must have been able to smell them.

In a video shot by another park visitor, the amateur photographer can be seen crouching down right in front of one animal, which is holding its tail erect in a typical display of aggression. Rather than backing away, as visitors are advised when an animal is agitated, the man holds his ground until the bison's nose is almost touching his lens.

Luckily for him, this seems to be a young animal that's more curious than aggressive, otherwise he may have found himself in the same situation as the two women who were hospitalized after being gored by bison at US National Parks last summer. Both survived, but suffered serious abdominal injuries from the animals' sharp horns.

The video, which you can watch below, was shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out careless and just plain reckless behavior, often involving wildlife. The clip was shot by professional photographer Mary Ann Kennedy.

With hiking season just around the corner, it's a timely reminder to respect animals and give them the space they need to go about their lives undisturbed. Intentionally distracting or harassing animals at National Parks is against the law, and people have been fined and even jailed for letting curiosity get the better of them. 

Even if the animal doesn't lash out. close contact with humans can be dangerous. Last year, a man was fined for attempting to help a bison calf by carrying it up a riverbank when it became separated from its herd. Sadly, the other bison rejected it, and Park Rangers took the difficult decision to euthanize the animal after it began approaching people and cars.

For advice on how to enjoy watching these beautiful animals safely, take a look at 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.