Officials say the bison on Antelope Island are most dangerous this time of year

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ANTELOPE ISLAND (ABC4 News) – It’s a popular attraction at a Utah State Park. But get too close, you may pay the price. That’s the cautionary tale, as we update this weekend’s incident Antelope Island.

A man trail running met a 1,000-pound beast, protecting its young. He lived to tell park rangers what happened.

More than 750 wild bison call Antelope Island home, and their numbers are quickly growing. As dozens of calves dot the landscape, scurrying behind their mothers.

Curiosity draws their human visitors closer, but this is the season when these large creatures are most dangerous.

“This is one of those things that was probably an accident,” said Jeremy Shaw, Antelope Island Park Director.

A man came face-to-snout with a 1,000 to 2,000-pound bison. Park rangers told ABC4 News they spoke with the man Monday, in the hospital.

“He did tell us that he was trail running, with some earbuds in, and came over a little rise, and the bison was right there in the middle of the trail.”

Within 10 feet, the man was no match for an animal that can gallop at 35 miles per hour. He turned to run away, but it was already too late.

“Then he heard the bison kinda come after him, and that’s when the bison struck him,” said Shaw.

Last November, a wildlife biologist spooked the herd and had to climb a tree to avoid being trampled and gored. His ordeal was streamed on social media.

Bison rancher Richard Jorgenson told ABC4’s Nicole Neuman he steers clear of his own animals.

“They may appear tame, but at any time, I can’t even predict after 20 years, when they’ll go a little berserk,” said Jorgenson. 

For visitors to Antelope Island, the warning bears repeating.

“They’re still wild animals. They’re still very, very dangerous,” said Shaw. 

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