Two Bison Attack in National Parks in One Week


Madeline Farnsworth, Contributor

On Monday July 22, 2019, there was a wave of panic and fear as a nine year old girl was attacked by a wild bison in Yellowstone National Park. Witnesses claim that “a group of approximately 50 people were within 5-10 feet of the bison for at least 20 minutes before eventually causing the bison to charge the group”. The Park is now constantly issuing warnings to the visitors to ‘”never approach animals” because they are “wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.” After Monday’s attack, officials stressed that people should stay at least 25 yards, or 75 feet, away from bison and other large animals such as elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes.’ A local newspaper reported that “members of her group had been petting the bison before the attack.” She was standing with her family nearby when the bison came thundering towards the group of about 50 people. As the group fled in a panic, the bison charged straight at the girl. She was launched head over heels in the air by the massive 2,000 male bison. She was rushed to the Old Faithful Lodge by her family and later rushed to the Old Faithful Medical Center for treatment. The extensiveness of her injuries were not released to the public. However, she was released shortly after the attack.

Only five days later on Saturday July 28, another bison attacked a 17 year old hiker at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Right before this attack, the teenager and his friend watched as two bison from a herd started fighting. The teen told NBC, “so I was hiking up the trail, got about a quarter of a mile and there was to my left, like the entire herd, and to my right there was one really big bison. And I give him enough space where I was walking around him. I was walking on the trail, and then all the sudden, I just kind of got this feeling that something was like chasing after me.” The hiker started to run away from the bison when he felt a horn tear through his flesh on his back and legs. He was swept off of his feet and thrown approximately six feet in the air by this wild animal.  Thankfully, the hiker was wearing a hiking backpack. His backpack saved him from sustaining more serious injuries. The hiker recalled, “I was in such shock and adrenaline rush that I didn’t realize (the bison) had torn that big of an injury in the back of my leg. And I looked back and there was just chunks of tissue. And I was like, ‘oh boy.'” This bison attack was unprovoked. He gave the wild animal plenty of space but unfortunately the hiker was still brutally attacked.

Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans. Always stay at least 25 yards away from bison. Bison, mainly males or bulls, are the most aggressive wild animals in any of the national parks. A tell-tale sign that a bison is angered and might charge is his tail. If a bison’s tail is down, then it is relaxed, but, if its tail is up, then it is about to charger. Always remember that all animals at National Parks are still wild and may attack at anytime.