Yellowstone Bison Attack More Complicated Than Initially Reported

Take a look at this report from CNN. It contains the actual video of the incident. You’ll see two things: that initial reports from the National Park Service and the media (including Yellowstone Insider) were absolutely wrong, and poor behavior from Park visitors were clearly to blame.

So, let’s sum up what happened.

– After visiting the Biscuit Basin, a family saw a bison walking through the parking lot. A pair of tourists ran to get a very close look at the bison, getting way too close in the process — 30 feet by their own estimates.

– Some moron threw something at the bison, startling it. When startled, bison aren’t too discriminating about who they attack, and the tourists were the closest targets.

– The bison did what bison do: attack.

It’s a pretty ugly incident, and we’re a little appalled that CNN chose to report on this in a way that cast the tourists as the victims. They weren’t. They should have heeded Park instructions to give Yellowstone wildlife a lot of room; the guideline to keep 25 yards away is a minimum. Bison don’t just attack out of the blue; in every case where a goring is caught on take it happened because Park visitors ventured too close to the bison. This case was no exception.

True, we don’t wish harm on anyone, and we’re glad to see Cathy Hayes come away from the goring with nothing more than some nasty bruises. It surely could have been much worse — and that’s something to remember the next time you visit Yellowstone and feel the urge to walk up to a bison.

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