Yellowstone Warns Visitors After Rise In Incidents With Wildlife | Big Horn Basin Media

Yellowstone Warns Visitors After Rise In Incidents With Wildlife

Written by on June 3, 2023

The National Park Service is warning Yellowstone visitors to keep their distance from bison in the park after several incidents of tourists getting too close to the wild animals that inhabit the park.

Since most of us reading this article live in Park County, Wyoming, just less than an hour outside of one of the most beautiful places on earth, Yellowstone National Park, we know the rules.  Rules that seem obvious to keep visitors safe, while still being able to take in the breathtaking glory that the park possesses.

But for an increasingly number of visitors to the country’s first national park, the rules are either not the most basic, survival common sense thoughts, or just seem not to apply.

The Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone posted footage of a woman posing for a photograph next to a fully grown bison. Yes, she is within arm’s distance of a wild animal that is over a ton and she feels the need to take a selfie while the bison is sitting down.

The account has posted many instances of people getting too close to the wild. In one post about the incident in Yellowstone, a person frustratingly comments: “This is the FIFTH bison post in a row. It’s only a matter of time before a human goes flying!”

Just a week ago, the account posted a video of a woman almost being trampled by a bison after she tried to touch it.

The video shows a group of people on a walkway, right next to the massive animal. A woman, unbelievably, can be seen extending her hand, trying to pet the bison.

The bison then lunges forward, as if it is about to charge. The woman runs away, falling over as she does so. She and the rest of the group can be heard squealing in fright. She was lucky. The bison could have gored or trampled her or other people.

A spokesperson from Yellowstone National Park told Newsweek that the incident is under investigation.

It is should be an obvious thought, but there are rules and regulations in the national park that require visitors to keep their distance from all wildlife for a reason. Nature, in all of its glory, can be dangerous, and in it’s beauty, death is still just below the beauty.

It seems that because of the sharp rise in incidents between humans and wild animals in the park, officials are having to remind people more, stressing that it’s not OK to pet, interact or get close to the animals.

In fact, in a recent email, park officials have blatantly said that the animals in Yellowstone are “wild and unpredictable.”  It doesn’t matter how docile or calm they seem to be, as a visitor it is up to the individual to be aware and be vigilant that Yellowstone can be a DANGEROUS place.  “Always stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards away from all other animals, including bison and elk,” the park reminds the public in the same email.

Since bison don’t roam the countryside in massive herds, like a black wave across hundreds of acres at a time like they did long ago, people forget how, in particular, bison can be dangerous if they are approached. The animal can charge quickly and has been known to throw grown men in the air like “rag dolls,” the National Parks Service says on its website.

“Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans. Always stay at least 25 yards away from bison,” the park says.

“If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity,” the park says.

Bison have numerous ways to react to someone who gets to close to them.  According to officials in the park, if a bison feels threatened by a person’s approach, it may bluff charge, meaning it bobs its head, paws the ground, or snorts. This is a sign to back off immediately, and if not, a charge is “imminent.”

“Do not stand your ground. Immediately walk or run away from the animal. Spray bear spray as you are moving away if the animal follows you,” the park advises.

No matter how many warnings, social media posts, videos or written stories emerge from the park about people getting too close to wild animals, three things are and will be true.  Now and in the future.

  1. Yellowstone will continue to draw millions of people a year to witness its majestic beauty.
  2. Wild animals will perpetually have a safe haven in the nation’s first, officially-designated national park.
  3. Too many people, each season, will not have the self-awareness or heed the constant, repetitive warnings to not interact with these wild animals. And there will be video to prove it.

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