In the latest from the great outdoors, a Yellowstone National Park tourist was headbutted over a wooden fence by a bison in a visitor-heavy area of the park. The Instagram page Tourons of Yellowstone (“touron” being a mash-up of “tourist” and “moron”) posted the video of the bison and the tourist.
In the video, the big bison crosses a cement walkway into a heavily trafficked area. It rounds a small wooded fence, and people scramble away. One man goes up on the fence, when the bison, tail in the air, headbutts him off of said fence. He falls to the ground, clutching the back of his head. Behind the bison, people quickly walk away from the scene, trying to escape as calmly as possible.
Yellowstone National Park is the only place in 48 states to have free-roaming bison; that means they go where they want, when they want. It’s important to give them a wide berth when you see them around. They’re big, strong, and unpredictable. While they may seem relatively harmless because they move slowly through the plains, that’s not at all the case. They can charge at a moment’s notice, and run “three times faster than humans,” according to the NPS, so it’s best to stay clear and watch from a distance. After all, these are still wild animals, not domesticated pets of the park.
Bison Encounters On the Rise in Yellowstone National Park
Recently, two people were gored by bison in Yellowstone National Park, making that two attacks in three days. On June 27, a 34-year-old man sustained an arm injury when a bison attacked him while he was walking the designated boardwalk near Old Faithful. In the video, the bison charges at a couple and a child, then the man approaches from the left. Somehow, the child gets left in the path of the animal, and the man tries to pick the kid up, but is then charged himself. The bison lifts him into the air slightly, then drops him. The child runs off, and so does the man.
Social media came after the guy, but watching the video, it seems like he was only trying to protect the child. Should they not have been walking on that boardwalk if they knew there was a bison nearby? Yes. But it is also possible that the animal was further away when they entered the boardwalk. There are factors in this incident that we don’t know, so it’s hard to judge if these people were breaking bison rules or not.
Unfortunately, there are those who purposefully break the bison rules. Yellowstone National Park warns all visitors to stay 25 yards away from bison, but on May 30, a woman left the designated boardwalk at Black Sand Basin and approached a bison. The animal charged, and lifted her 10 feet in the air. She was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.