HomeOutdoorsViralYellowstone National Park ‘Tourons’ Get Lucky as Bison Gives Warning Approach: WATCH

Yellowstone National Park ‘Tourons’ Get Lucky as Bison Gives Warning Approach: WATCH

by Jon D. B.
Tourists approach bison in Yellowstone National Park
Tourists approach bison in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Another day, another touron. Watch as these Yellowstone National Park visitors are allowed to live thanks to an enormous, gracious bison.

The emphasis is on gracious here, too. The largest land mammal in North America, our bison are one of the heaviest hitters on the planet. Capable of immense speed and power, they can mow down any perceived nuisance or threat in the blink of an eye. Yet certain Yellowstone visitors can’t seem to give them the respect and space they require.

The danger wild bison pose to tourists isn’t matter of opinion or debate, either. “Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal,” the park cites. Bison are beautiful and majestic, yes, but they are also exactly what the word wildlife dictates: wild. Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans, so it is no small miracle that these three “tourons” left with their bodies and lives intact:

Shared to the popular Tourons of Yellowstone Instagram account, the video shows three individuals outside their vehicles as they approach, photograph, and turn their backs to an apex bull. By the looks of him, he’s one of the largest in Yellowstone National Park, yet these visitors are within feet or inches of him at times.

This isn’t only ill-advised and potentially deadly. It’s illegal. As Yellowstone requires: “Always stay at least 25 yards (23 m) away from bison.” Failure to do so can result in steep fines, banning from the park, and even jail time.

Yellowstone National Park Fans Sound Off: ‘People just don’t respect wildlife!’

“People just don’t respect wildlife,” one follower responds. “They have no idea the potential harm they can cause by crowding them. It’s exciting to see these magnificent animals but they can do you some major damage… for life!”

Well said. “How do you have literally zero survival skills?” another follower asks. Other commenters are far less gracious than this bison, like Scotty J. who “was hoping for a direct hit.”

“Whenever I’ve had a wild animal encounter, I have this sense of awareness come over me,” Thomas G. adds. “I just figured everybody had that, but I follow this account and so many people don’t? Very strange,” he continues. Which is an interesting and viable point.

Many are, it seems, so far removed from the natural world these days that the presence of a 2,000 pound mammal isn’t enough to kick in a fight or flight response. This, to me, is about as tragic as it gets in an instance where (thankfully) no one was harmed.

YELL Wildlife Safety Reminder

When visiting Yellowstone National Park, it is imperative to follow their safety regulations. For the wildlife such as bison, this means visitors must never approach or feed wildlife under any circumstances.

“The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car,” the park reminds visitors. The rule of thumb is:

“Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.”

And remember, it’s not just a rule of thumb, but a law that if broken can result in steep fines, jail time, and banning from Yellowstone.

For more park wildlife safety and information, see our Yellowstone National Park Wildlife: Animals You’ll Spot, Where to Best View Bison, Bears, Elk, Wolves, and Wildlife Safety next.