WATCH: Bison Charges Snowmobilers at Yellowstone National Park in Terrifying Clip

by Amy Myers
(Photo by: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Snowmobilers and visitors of Yellowstone National Park are well aware that they might run into the area’s natural residents, but that doesn’t make a bison encounter any less nerve-wracking.

More than 5,000 bison call Yellowstone National Park home, and their sightings are becoming just as common as finding a pine tree. Many times, we see the massive bovines taking their time as they cross the roads. They’ve made it clear that while we might be passing through, admiring the scenery and enjoying the adventures available, this is their literal stomping grounds.

Despite the frequent bison sightings, these usually don’t end in any conflict. But sometimes, the bovines like to remind visitors who are in charge. That seems to be what happened when a group of snowmobilers was trying to pass one especially confrontational bison. Check it out:

Bison Feigns Charge at Yellowstone National Park Snowmobilers

As we can see, the bison bull doesn’t chase after the passing snowmobilers for very long – just enough to establish a bit of dominance. The bull feigned a charge a few times then retreated back to the side of the road. Meanwhile, the snowmobilers acted appropriately, and most importantly, they didn’t panic. The group patiently waited for the right opportunity for a couple of them to pass at a time. The person recording the video captured the encounter as two more snowmobilers slowly cruised past the bison. Again, the bull did his little dominance dance before giving up.

That’s when things got a little dicier. Instead of retreating to the side of the road, the bison faced the next two snowmobilers head-on. Thankfully, the bison really was only interested in sending a message and didn’t charge the dangerously close visitors. At the end of the video, the bison shook his head, a common warning sign for large animals, and looked expectantly at the next group.

“He’s looking at us,” the snowmobiler behind the camera said. The bison let out a puff of frosty breath.

Yellowstone National Park Staff Responds to Bison Encounter

Upon seeing the footage, Yellowstone National Park posted an official statement.

“Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. During winter, wildlife endure extremes of cold, wind, and the absence of ready food. Give animals space.”

Park officials continued, “Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans. Always stay at least 25 yards from bison.”

If that’s not reason enough to give these beautiful bovines the distance they need, check out this video that shows two bulls sparring in the park.

According to park guide John Clark, “They will do this [spar in winter] occasionally to show dominance but mostly in Summer during the mating season.”