Yellowstone is well known for its trademark flora and fauna, and it’s almost as well known for the poor schmucks who make bad decisions and end up having close encounters with its wild inhabitants.
Whether because of their size or seeming docility, bison are some of the most interacted-with creatures at the park. Bears are abundant too, but people seem to have slightly more fear of them than bison.
One recent visitor to the park shared a video this week that has since gone viral, showing what appears to be a family getting a little too close to nature and paying a heavy price.
The video, originally posted to Reddit, shows what looks like an older couple walking with a young boy and a man, ostensibly the boy’s father. The group gets far too close to a bison hanging out along one of the boardwalks.
According to the person who posted the video, the large creature initially swished its tail, tossed its head and generally tried to warn the tourists to back off, but they continued their slow walk up to it.
By the time the video clip starts, the bison has had quite enough and closes the space between itself and the family, sending up a trail of dust.
As it approaches the older couple and boy, it pauses a moment, then charges at the boy, who runs in a different direction than the others. The bison is right behind him, but at the last moment the man snatches up the child right before the huge animal reaches them.
The bison then catches the man with one of its horns and tosses him, sending both boy and man flying through the air. The boy seems unharmed, but the man’s arm hangs limply. He had to be taken to the hospital for the goring.
“I had been following the big guy for quite a while and I saw the whole situation unfold so I started recording,” the Reddit user commented. “What you don’t see is the beginning where the guy in the hat approaches way too close which is what started it all.”
“The guy who ends up getting pummeled was the first to get the bison riled up,” he continued in another comment. “The bison went after the older couple because the kid ran towards them. It was one big family. I think parents, kid, and grand parents.”
“Kid was ok, but dad had at least a dislocated shoulder.”
Rob Goodell, a visitor from Georgia who witnessed the encounter, told the Cowboy State Daily that the family was absolutely the party at fault.
“Anyone who says that the bison just attacked that guy or whatever, that’s bulls***,” Goodell said. “The bison was just protecting his ground.”
In the wake of the goring, the National Park Service posted a cheeky reminder about giving the animals their space, watching their body language and using common sense when traipsing through the wild as guests.
“They say distance makes the heart grow fonder,” the Facebook post read. “Distance also keeps you grounded. (Like not flying through the air.) So remember, when it comes to being around wildlife, long distance = #RelationshipGoals.”
“Unfortunately, you may never get solid answers on why a fleeting relationship went south, but if that ends up being the case, you just have to take a deep breath, back away, and focus on keeping that safe distance until things cool down. And remember, there are always much easier ways to earn frequent flyer miles than by getting too close to a wild animal.”
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