“Totally not terrifying seeing bison throw each other around like lawn chairs. Not one bit.” Especially when it happens in the middle of traffic.
As seen over on our Twitter, North American bison are a force to be reckoned with. Even this feels an understatement after watching one bison bull toss another a dozen feet off the road without so much as a flick of his head:
Of course, when you’re a 2,000-pound bull, many feats of unbelievable strength become child’s play. Measuring up to (and over) 6-feet at the shoulders, too, bison are not only American powerhouses but the largest land mammals in all of North America.
Now imagine the damage said megafauna would do to a vehicle on this road instead of another bull. And let’s not imagine the outcome of this maneuver on a human being. Put plainly, there’s no surviving it.
As this footage also demonstrates, bison are remarkably fast and can turn on a dime. The giants may look like lumbering, benevolent beasts, but their size alone makes them one of the most dangerous herbivores on the planet.
All of the above go to serve why our national parks, such as Yellowstone National Park, hold such strict regulations while inside park borders. Bison roam Yellowstone freely as they have for millennia. So abiding by such regulations can and will save your life:
Please maintain a 25 yards (23 meters) distance from bison at all times.
As Yellowstone staff states: “Wild animals are unpredictable and dangerous. Every year people are injured when they approach animals too closely. Animals that attack people may need to be killed.”
In addition, always remain at least 100 yards (91 meters) from bears or wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 meters) from all other wildlife. If visitors violate rules, rangers may close roadside pullouts to protect animals and people. Legal action can and will also be taken, as this woman found out after willfully approaching Yellowstone grizzlies.
Remember, it is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within any distance that disturbs or displaces the animal in Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone Also Holds Driving Safety Guidelines to Help Keep Visitors & Bison Safe
To avoid collisions with bison and other wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, officials ask the following:
- Drive cautiously and watch for animals. The park has hazards on the road you are not used to at home, like 2,000-pound bison!
- Follow the speed limit. The speed limit in Yellowstone is 45 mph unless posted otherwise.
- Use extra caution at night. Animal fur absorbs light, making them very difficult to see on roads at night even while using bright headlights. Slow down, especially on curves in the road, when venturing into the park during dark.
- Drowsy? Take a break. Driving while drowsy significantly increases the risk of car accidents, and with 450 miles of roads in the park, long days behind the wheel are common. Be sure to get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel and take turns driving with other legal drivers in your group to protect yourself and others.
- Never park in the road or block traffic. If you need to stop or pull over for any reason, use a pullout and ensure all four vehicle tires are to the right of the white line. Stay with your vehicle if you’re stopped in a wildlife jam.
- Pack your patience. Winding roads and traffic often make drive times much longer than expected.
As always, it’s up to us Outsiders to practice safe driving and ensure we’re vigilant when driving in any area where wild animals may be present.