WATCH: Yellowstone National Park Bison Charges Tourist’s Car in Nail-Biting Encounter

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Erik Petersen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Most times when you see the words “bison” and “Yellowstone National Park” in the same headline, it’s because a brazen tourist decided to get much too close to one of the park’s largest, and often most dangerous, animals. However, a new video shows that one group of tourists was very lucky when one bison, captured in the video below, was seen charging down the road toward a car before it stopped short of ramming it. Instead, the nail-biting footage shows the bison slow his charge to a walk and investigate the vehicle before moving on. Check it out.

The video takes in an unnamed road within the park. Large green trees line the roadon both sides, and two full-grown bison are seen charging down the pavement. As one of the bison near the vehicle, the male driver can be heard exclaiming, “Oh my God.” However, moments later, the massive animal stops short of the car. The man laughs as the bison draws near, greeting him with an ironic “Good morning!” But it’s easy to see he’s relieved the animal never actually made contact with the car.

The female passenger in the vehicle shows a little more concern, asking if they should back out of the situation. However, the man decides to keep the car parked and let’s the bison pass.

Yellowstone National Park Visitors Handled Bison Encounter ‘Exactly Right’

After the video went viral, a Yellowstone National Park spokesperson said that the man and passengers in the vehicle “did exactly the right thing by staying in their vehicle and waiting for the bison to pass.”

According to Newsweek, Yellowstone National Park’s bison population numbers anywhere from 2,300 to 5,500 individuals. These massive beasts can grow to weigh as much as 2,000 pounds and are easily capable of hurting park tourists. The National Park Service states bison can easily toss full-grown men into the air “like rag dolls” when provoked. On average, the large animals injure one to two park visitors each year.

Fortunately, though, for the tourists in the video above, it’s more likely the bison was just curious about the car. The outlet states the national park’s largest residents are pretty familiar with cars and often just display curiosity toward them.

Still, if you do happen to see a bison or herd while exploring Yellowstone National Park away from your vehicle, it’s a really good idea to keep a minimum of 25 yards between yourself and the animals. Despite their size, bison are capable of running as fast as 35 miles per hour.

In addition, the national park’s bison also have strong herd instincts. So when they feel threatened, they become very easily agitated and are extremely sensitive to outsiders. Signs that you’ve pissed off a Yellowstone National Park bison are as follows:

  • The bison may turn and make eye contact with you, a sign they’re about to charge.
  • Raising their tails as a warning that they could charge.