WATCH: Yellowstone Bison Headbutts Loitering Vehicle
Written by Nick on March 19, 2023
Video Captures Yellowstone Bison’s Attempt at Goring a Mazda
Fortunately, it doesn’t appear as though the occupants of the vehicle or the bison involved were hurt.
Why Would a Yellowstone Bison Headbutt a Vehicle?
Assertive behavior like a headbutt is the universal language for, “You’re too close — back off.” That said, this video doesn’t necessarily show the driver doing anything wrong.
Obviously, the driver couldn’t control how close the bison was to the road. When a bison or any other wildlife decides to cross the road in Yellowstone, you should yield and let them make their way across in their own time. It looks as though the driver was giving the bison space to move further out of the way before proceeding.
Since we can’t see what happened before the video starts rolling, it’s impossible to say whether there was any provocation, judging solely by this video.
On the other hand, you should move your vehicle away from bison as soon as it is safe to do so. It doesn’t appear that there was any traffic backed up behind the Mazda, so they may have been able to carefully back up to give the bison more space. Or, they simply continued on their way to keep the bison from feeling as though they were being crowded.
Based on the license plate, the Mazda is most likely a rental, so we hope the driver shelled out for full coverage.
There are plenty of places to see Yellowstone bison inside the park. Just be sure to do so responsibly. Here’s our list of the top four places to see bison in Yellowstone.
Underestimate Yellowstone Bison at Your Own Peril
Perhaps the most iconic species residing in America’s first national park, the Yellowstone bison is often misunderstood. Their spindly-looking legs don’t seem to fit their massive bodies, and some visitors imagine bison to be harmless or docile. But approaching bison with a false sense of security can have severe, and even deadly, consequences.
Like all the wildlife inside Yellowstone National Park, bison are wild animals. Their powerful frames are also deceptively quick — something plenty of Yellowstone visitors have learned the hard way. Never antagonize them by making loud noises or using flash photography.
Your best bet for getting a great view of Yellowstone bison without compromising your safety is to remain in your vehicle. Never approach a bison, and if you’re on foot, always maintain a distance of at least 25 yards from the animal.
When you visit Yellowstone, do your best to take in the majesty of the landscape and the wildlife that call it home, but please be considerate. Here’s our helpful guide to being a responsible Yellowstone visitor.