Clueless Yellowstone tourist tries to pet bison while snapping selfies

Two American bison fighting
(Image credit: Getty)

A woman has been spotted at Yellowstone National Park posing for selfies with one of the native bison, and even touching the animal, seemingly oblivious to the danger. The incident was caught on camera by another visitor, A Quan, who couldn't believe what they were seeing.

"It was insane," Quan said. "Like inches. Her arrogance was infuriating. People were telling her to move away and she kept posing for like 10 minutes."

Quan's video was shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which showcases examples of bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty. These incidents often involve wildlife, and despite the many warnings posted around Yellowstone and other parks, visitors all too often approach the animals, attempting to pet and even ride bison.

This time the tourist was lucky, but not everyone who gets within range of a bison's horns is so lucky. Although they are usually docile and prefer to avoid encounters with humans, bison are wild animals and can become aggressive and unpredictable if they or their young are threatened,

They are most dangerous in spring, when females (cows) are fiercely protective of their calves, and during the fall when males (bulls) are competing for dominance and the right to mate during the breeding season, known as the rut,

Bison safety

Bison have injured more people at Yellowstone than any other animal, but as the National Park Service (NPS) explains, avoiding dangerous encounters isn't difficult.

"Bison do not pose a threat to people unless you get too close," says the NPS. "Many bison-related injuries in Yellowstone result from people approaching them to take a picture. Use a camera with a telephoto lens to take photos from more than 25 yards away."

For more advice on how to stay safe in bison country, 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.