Yellowstone visitors harass enormous bison for photos, which goes poorly.


Bison in Yellowstone National Park are magnificent creatures, measuring roughly 6ft tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 2,000lb. It’s understandable that visitors want to photograph these massive beasts, but amazement might get in the way of common sense.

A dozen tourists were captured on camera swarming around a particularly huge bull grazing by the roadside. Several individuals can be seen sitting or standing with their backs to the animal in a video made by photographer Logan Smith and published on the famed Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, unable to witness the changes in its body language that show its rising irritation. The posture of a bison’s tail is a dead giveaway; if it’s elevated, you should flee as soon as possible.


The animal’s patience eventually wears out, and it charges its unwanted audience, leaping over a short barrier to land in the heart of the crowd. Fortunately, all of the tourists were able to depart in time, avoiding being gored or struck down.

Not everyone who has a close encounter with a bison is that fortunate. Earlier this year, two people suffered significant stomach injuries after being gored by animals in US National Parks within a week of each other.

In fact, according to the National Park Service (NPS), bison cause more injuries in Yellowstone than any other species, including bears and wolves.


“Give bison space when they are near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or developed area,” the National Park Service advises park visitors in its safety instructions. “If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.”

For more information on how to be safe, read our posts How to Avoid Being Gored by a Bison and Wildlife Safety: Eight Tips for Unexpected Encounters, both of which include critical advise on how to avoid an encounter and how to act if you find yourself too close for comfort.


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