Reckless Yellowstone visitor corners bison during the rut while carrying baby

Bull bison sniffing the air during the rut
(Image credit: Getty)

A man visiting Yellowstone National Park decided to sneak around a corner to get a closer look at one of the park's bison, while carrying his young child in his arms. The incident was caught on camera by a shocked park visitor,, who shared a video of the pair on Instagram.

The National Park Service (NPS) warns people to always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison when hiking in the park, and that's particularly true during late summer and early fall, which is the animals' mating season. During this period, known as the rut, males can be particularly unpredictable and more prone to aggression than usual.

Several people have been attacked by bison at US National Parks in recent weeks, including two women who were hospitalized with serious abdominal injuries after being gored.

The National Park Service Biological Resources Division (BRD) in Fort Collins, Colorado, explains that the rut lasts from June to September, with most activity happening in July and August. A female will only mate with one male during this period, but a male will mate with multiple females.

"Beginning in early June as the breeding activities start, mature bulls will join mixed-sex groups to compete for mating opportunities," says the BRD in its regular Bison Bellows feature on the NPS website. "This is when the mood changes and the deep bellows of bull bison can be heard across the landscape."

During this time, males will begin to court females and show dominance through behavior like wallowing, which can kick up great clouds of dust that obscure the whole herd. Their body language also changes, with tails held high in a question mark shape signalling a threat or challenge.

"The rut is an exciting time of year," says the BRD. "Bellows fill the air, the group buzzes with activity, and male-male clashes can be seen."

Keep yourself safe

The NPS explains that it's important to keep your distance at all times both for your own safety, and that of the wildlife. Animals that attack people may be euthanized for public safety.

"Never approach or pursue an animal to take its picture: use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a better view," the service says. "If an animal moves closer to you, back away to maintain a safe distance. If you cause an animal to move, you're too close. It's illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within any distance that disturbs or displaces the animal."

For more tips on how to keep yourself and your family safe while enjoying wildlife, 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.