Yellowstone tourist decides to take a break and sit down in a field of bison – it proves a poor choice

Bison in field at Yellowstone National Park, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

Despite repeated warnings from Park Rangers, a man visiting Yellowstone National Park was spotted taking a break and sitting in a field occupied by a herd of bison and their calves. Predictably this proved a bad idea, and he was forced to flee when one adult took exception to the intrusion and chased him away. Like all mammals, bison are fiercely protective of their young, so he was lucky to escape without injury.

A photo of the incident (which you can see below) was shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out careless behavior at US National Parks, often involving elk, bison, and even bears and wolves. The picture was shot by wildlife photographer Ben Bluhm, who spotted the man from the safety of his vehicle.

Every year people are seriously injured after getting too close to bison, accidentally or on purpose. Just a few days ago, an 83-year-old woman was seriously injured after being tossed a foot in the air by one of the animals.

2015 was a particularly bad year, with five attacks at Yellowstone. As the BBC reports, one victim, a 43-year-old woman, had stopped to take a selfie with her daughter in front of a bison when the animal charged. 

"When they turned their backs to the bison to take the picture, someone warned that they were too close," said the NPS in a statement after the attack. "They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head."

The NPS issued another warning the following year after a woman was filmed trying to take a selfie with an elk, which became distressed and charged at her.

"People generally are just so excited to be in a park, and the next cool thing is if they can get a picture of wildlife, and then the third thing is 'Can I get a picture of me and the wildlife?'" NPS spokesperson Jeffrey Olson told ABC News at the time.

Rangers warns visitors that visiting a National Park is not like going to the zoo; there are few barriers, if any, to separate you from the animals, and you are in their territory. 

"Animals may appear to be calm and docile, but are unpredictable and can easily be startled," says the NPS. "Remember that you, the visitor, are responsible for your safety and for the safety of the animals, too."

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.