UTAH (ABC4) – The video is difficult to watch.
It shows a family in distress after they were nearly gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park in late June.
The video shows what appears to be a family of four or five people, including a kid who was saved from being gored by the bison as they run out of the way in an effort to escape.
One 34-year-old Colorado man wasn’t so lucky, as he was gored by the bison and sustained an arm injury.
A similar incident happened just days later when a 71-year-old woman became the second person to be gored by a bison at Yellowstone in just 3 days.
In light of these incidents, experts here in Utah are advising those visiting Antelope Island State Park, which is home to many wildlife species including bison, on how to best navigate a potential encounter.
During the winter, there are about 515 bison on the island. After the female bison gives birth to their calves in the spring, that number rises to about 750 animals.
There have been a few instances where park visitors have been charged and injured by bison in the past few years.
“People usually get too close,” said Antelope Island Park Manager Jeremy Shaw. “They always want to get closer and closer for photos. But ultimately, any time there is a dangerous interaction with wildlife, it’s because the person got too close.”
With that in mind, here are a few tips from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to avoid potentially aggressive bison:
- If you see a bison and it stops what it is doing and starts paying attention to you, you are too close and should slowly back away.
- If a bison is in the middle of the road, wait for it to pass. Do not get out of your vehicle.
- If a bison is on the side of the road, feel free to slowly drive past it. But again, stay inside your vehicle.
- If you see a bison in the distance, do not walk across the rangeland to get closer to it. Take your photos from a safe distance.
- If you are hiking and a bison is close to you or on the trail, you should either back away and return the way you came or leave the trail and give the animal a very wide berth when passing it. It is OK to go off the trail if your safety is at risk.
“We’ve got trail restrictions on Antelope Island in the backcountry, but safety trumps those rules,” Shaw said. “If you are in the backcountry hiking and you come across any wildlife that’s in your path, we urge you to travel around it. Whatever distance you think you should remain from the animal, double it — that’s how far back you should stay,” he added.
These safety tips can be used when approaching any wildlife.
For more information, click here.