"You've got a death wish" – Yellowstone tourist tempts fate strolling around bison

American bison in field
(Image credit: Getty)

A tourist visiting Yosemite recently was spotted taking her life into her hands by getting much too close to one of the park's thousands of bison. To the alarm of onlookers, the woman circled the animal, taking photos from all angles, including behind.

The incident (which you can watch below) was recorded by fellow visitor Alexis Shepherd and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty (often including wildlife). Another visitor can be heard commenting that the woman must have "a death wish".

This time the bison stayed calm, but not all close encounters end peacefully. Last year, three people were seriously injured by bison at Yellowstone within just a few weeks, including a 71-year-old woman who was gored near Storm Point at Yellowstone Lake, and two people aged 34 and 25 who were attacked on boardwalks near Old Faithful.

According to a statement from the National Park Service (NPS), the youngest victim was gored after approaching within 10ft of a bison. The animal tossed her high in the air, resulting in a puncture wound and other injuries, and she was originally reported to have died.

The NPS took the opportunity to remind visitors that while seeing bison in the wild can be a highlight of a trip to Yellowstone, they have caused more injuries than any other animal at the park, including bears and snakes.

"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached," said a park spokesperson. "When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space.

"Stay more than 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity."

For more advice on how to stay safe, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.

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.