Trigger-happy Yellowstone tourists narrowly escape advances of angry bison

Bison standing on a road
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A group of tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park have been captured on camera narrowly escaping a bison charging at them. The bison was grazing next to the roadside when it started to attract a number of people who were completely unaware the bison was getting agitated. Separated only by a low wooden barrier, many of the tourists were chatting among themselves with their back turns when the bison charged at them - luckily no one was hurt. 

Yellowstone National Park is a paradise for landscape, bird and wildlife photographers with its vast and varied terrain of epic canyons, gushing waterfalls, alpine forests, winding rivers and steaming hot geysers. It’s home to everything from coyotes and cougars to bears, elk deer and of course bison and while many of these animals are the reason people visit the park, it’s best they are enjoyed from a distance.

• Check out the best cameras for bird and wildlife photography including a range of DSLRs, mirrorless and bridge cameras.

A male bison or buffalo as it is commonly known can weigh up to 2000lb and stand at 6ft tall making it the largest mammal in North America. At top speed, they can run at 35 miles per hour, despite their size they are agile creatures able to jump high fences and they can even swim so respecting their personal space is paramount. 

Every year, bison injure more tourists at Yellowstone than any other animal including bears according to the national park’s website. Back in September 2023, a man was photographed on the floor with a huge bison standing over him and in July woman received significant injuries to her chest and abdomen after being gored by one.

It’s recommended visitors stay at least 25 meters away from bison to ensure their safety which is nothing if you have a telephoto lens. The best lenses for bird and wildlife photography are specifically designed with big zooms so that you can capture the action from a distance which not only ensures your safety but also makes sure animals are uninterrupted when in their natural habitat.

The video was shared on the Instagram page Tourons of Yellowstone which regularly posts photos and videos of people who seem to be a few brain cells short. From people who have got way too close to wildlife to people who have ignored safety signs and jumped over barriers, risking your life is never worth it for the perfect picture. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.