Yellowstone Bison Charges, Sending Tourists Scrambling Back to Safety

By: Georgia | Last updated: Nov 16, 2023

Yellowstone Bison Charges, Sending Tourists Scrambling Back to Safety

Yellowstone National Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and its diverse wildlife populations, including the iconic bison. 

However, a recent event involving tourists and these magnificent animals serves as a stark reminder of the need for maintaining safety and adhering to park guidelines when observing wildlife in their natural habitats.

An Unexpected Encounter

A concerning incident unfolded with a group of tourists and a pair of bison. 


Source: sensiblyhealth/TikTok

While these tourists were not behaving as provocatively as some in prior Yellowstone events, their proximity to the animals created a tense situation that had potential consequences for all involved parties.


Capturing the Scene

David DiPaola, an observer known online as @sensiblyhealth, was present during the unfolding situation. 


Source: sensiblyhealth/TikTok

From within his car, he captured footage of the male bison in its courtship ritual, offering a unique glimpse into this natural behavior and the ensuing human-animal interaction.

A Gathering Spectacle

The bison’s behavior attracted significant attention. As DiPaola recorded, more tourists parked by the road’s side, all drawn to the scene. 


Source: sensiblyhealth/TikTok

Their collective interest, while understandable given the rarity of the moment, heightened the situation’s potential risks.

Elevated Risk

The atmosphere became charged when several tourists exited their cars. Their actions seemed to disrupt the bison particularly the male engaged in courtship.


Source: sensiblyhealth/TikTok

This alteration in the human dynamic visibly shifted the bison’s demeanor and the broader scene at hand.

The Bison's Response

Reacting to the perceived intrusion, the male bison decided to take matters into its own hands.

Source: Simon Maage/Unsplash

It charged at the tourists, a stark reminder of the unpredictability of wild animals. The startled visitors were left scrambling back to their cars, emphasizing the need for respect and distance.


Comparing to Past Incidents

In comparison to previous Yellowstone episodes—some of which involved tourists chasing bears or getting dangerously close to bison—this event might seem milder. 


However, it demonstrates that even passive actions can prove unsafe, highlighting the imperative of adhering to safety guidelines.


National Park Service's Recommendations

The National Park Service has clear guidelines: maintain a distance of at least 25 yards from bison. 

Source: Goutham Ganesh Sivanandam/Unsplash

For potentially more aggressive wildlife like bears or wolves, the recommended distance is 100 yards. These guidelines are established based on years of observations and aim to ensure both human and animal safety.


Importance of Vehicle Safety

Vehicles serve dual purposes in Yellowstone. Not only are they a mode of transportation, but they also act as a protective barrier between humans and wildlife. 

Source: James Fitzgerald/Unsplash

This incident underlines the significance of remaining within one’s car when observing larger, potentially aggressive animals.


Yellowstone's Unpredictable Nature

While Yellowstone is a haven of biodiversity and natural beauty, it also embodies the unpredictability of wild animals. 

Source:Jim Fang/Unsplash

Their behaviors can be unforeseeable, especially when they feel cornered or are engaged in sensitive activities, making caution and respect essential.


The Need for Respect and Distance

This episode emphasizes the importance of both respect and distance when observing wildlife. 

Source: Arthur Tseng/Unsplash

While these animals are captivating and offer unique viewing opportunities, it’s crucial for visitors to ensure their safety and the animals’ comfort by maintaining appropriate boundaries.


Prioritizing Safety at Yellowstone

Yellowstone offers unmatched encounters with nature. Yet, as events like this reveal, ensuring personal safety and respecting the park’s wildlife is crucial.

Source: Steven Cordes/Unsplash

Observers must prioritize safety guidelines, ensuring harmonious and safe experiences for all.