Yellowstone bison gore two visitors in three days

By Billy Arnold Jackson Hole Daily Via Wyoming News Exchange

Yellowstone bison gore two visitors in three days


By Billy Arnold

Jackson Hole Daily

Via Wyoming News Exchange


JACKSON — Less than a week after Yellowstone National Park reopened following historic floods, bison gored two visitors in three days, bringing the total number of gorings this season to three.

Park officials have said that Yellowstone typically sees a goring or two a year, though there are years, like 2015, when bison injure an unusually large number of visitors. In that year, five people got the horns.

Park officials did not respond Thursday to a request for an interview on the recent pair of gorings, but on Wednesday a spokesman for the National Park Service’s Denver office returned a request for comment about a Monday goring near Old Faithful that went viral as videos of the incident circulated online.

The most recent incident happened Wednesday near Storm Point at Yellowstone Lake, park officials said in a Thursday press release.

A 71-year-old woman from West Chester, Pennsylvania, sustained non-life-threatening injuries after inadvertently approaching a bull bison with her daughter as they were returning to their vehicle at a trailhead, causing the animal to charge. An ambulance took her to West Park Hospital in Cody.

The goring on Monday involved a man from Colorado Springs, Colorado, near Giant Geyser in the Old Faithful area. The 34-year-old sustained injuries to his arm and was taken by ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

A video circulated online shows a bison charging a group of three people from a good distance away.

Naaman Horn, the National Park Service spokesperson, said they were within 25 yards of the animal, the distance Yellowstone requires people to maintain from bison.

A fourth person, the man who was gored, approached the trio after the bison, and when the animal reacted by chasing the four people, the man pulled a small child with the group out of the bison’s path. Horn said the child was OK, as far as he knew.

“They were too close and they weren’t retreating and were gored as a result,” Horn said.

That incident was the second this season. The first, on May 30, occurred when a 25-year-old Ohio woman got within 10 feet of a bison in the heavily visited Old Faithful area. She sustained a puncture wound and other injuries, and was also transported via ambulance to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

So far, none of the reported injuries has been fatal.

Park officials have said that in the two incidents near Old Faithful, people had moved too close to the bison, which look slow and gentle but can move quickly and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Yellowstone regulations require that people stay more than 25 yards from all large animals — bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes — and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

“Give bison space when they are near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area,” Yellowstone officials wrote in the Thursday press release. “If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.”

Getting close to bison threatens them, and they may respond by bluff charging, bobbing their heads, pawing, bellowing or snorting. Those are warning signs that people are too close and a charge is likely.

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


This story was published on July 1.


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