Grizzly attacks are rare, but people are mauled to death and/or eaten by bears every single year. These apex predators are fiercely territorial, and no matter how much of an Outsider one is – the great outdoors will always be their turf.
At Yellowstone National Park, this is doubly true. The National Park Service estimated 728 grizzlies called Yellowstone home in 2019. That number is likely to have increased since, too. In short: Yellowstone is bear country, through and through.
So when park regulations ask visitors to keep at least a 100-yard distance, it’s not a bluff! It is to keep the bears wild and unhabituated to humans, yes – but above all – it’s to keep visitors alive.
There will always be that one person (or thousands) that think they’re an exception to this rule. Take this May visitor to Yellowstone, for example. There are maybe 10 yards between her and this large grizzly bear. And as a completely wild, highly territorial animal, the grizzly isn’t having it.
“Check out this clip of a @YellowstoneNPS grizzly bear bluff charging a tourist that got too close,” NBC Montana captions the footage Wednesday. “Darcie Addington took this from the safety of her vehicle. She doesn’t know the other woman, but says several people warned her. Remember to give bears at least 100 yards of space,” the trade states, citing YNP’s regulations directly.
Yellowstone Grizzly Bear’s Bluff is a Close Call
No one likes to be preached at, but as an author & wildlife technician who’s spent years studying and photographing bears alongside writing of bear attacks, maulings, and deaths on a weekly basis – abiding by park regulations can and will save your life.
This may look like a “harmless” bluff, but as Yellowstone National Park’s website expertly puts it: “Don’t approach animals. If it changes its behavior because of your presence, you’re too close. Sure they may seem calm, tame even, but their disposition is toddler-like in that it can change in a second. Always obey instructions given by park staff on the scene.”
Specifically, all Yellowstone visitors are to “Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from other large mammals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes. Bison might look heavy and slow, but they’re surprisingly fast: three times faster than humans can run.”
The same is absolutely true of grizzly bears, too. There’s no outrunning a grizzly, as their sprint clocks in at 35pmh. So please, remember this and abide by it the next time you’re visiting any National Park, and avoid being the next piece like this one we have to write on Outsider.com.