Bison's Tourist Goring at Yellowstone Park Prompts Expert's Warning

An expert with the World Wildlife Fund is warning people about the danger large animals like bison pose and offering advice on how to properly interact with the massive wild animals after a man was injured by a bison at Yellowstone National Park this week.

On Monday, a 34-year-old Colorado man, whose name has not been released, was gored by a bison near Yellowstone's most recognizable attraction, Old Faithful, according to a release from the National Park Service (NPS).

Dennis Jorgensen, the bison program manager in the Northern Great Plains for the World Wildlife Fund, told Newsweek people should remain at least a football fields-distance away from wild bison given their immense size and propensity to move at high speeds.

"Bison are the largest terrestrial mammal in North America. They can weigh more than 2,000 pounds and can run as fast as 35 miles per hour. Despite their large size, they are extremely agile so it is suggested that you stay at least 100 yards from bison in a natural setting," he said in a response to Newsweek.

Expert issues warning after bison goring
An expert with the World Wildlife Fund has issued a warning after a man was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park this week. In the photo, a bison lies in a field in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on August 22, 2018. George Frey/Getty Images

The NPS release regarding the incident said that a a bull bison began charging after as the man and his family were walking along a boardwalk area. The animal likely reacted after perceiving the people to be a threat, feeling they were too close for comfort.

Instead of leaving the area, the NPS said the man and his family stayed where they were as the bison continued to charge and gored the man.

While this bison attack took place in June, Jorgensen added that there are specific times of the year when bison are more likely to attack those they believe are invading their territory.

"Though bison are generally more intent on grazing, mother bison are extremely protective of their calves in spring and bulls can be more aggressive in July and August during the rut when they are competing for the attention of females," he told Newsweek.

The man who was gored by the bison suffered an injured arm. He was taken to a hospital in Idaho for treatment. The NPS did not provide any information about his condition. "This incident remains under investigation, and there is no additional information to share," the NPS release said.

For anyone who comes in contact with wild bison, Jorgensen said there are definite signs the bison will give that it is agitated, indicating that it's time to go elsewhere.

"You can generally get a sense of how stressed a bison is by the degree to which its tail is raised, the more elevated the tail, the stronger the warning to give a bison space," he said.

The NPS said Monday's bison attack was the second reported incident of someone being gored by a bison in 2022.