Utah Couple Share Story of Yellowstone Bison Encounter

The Utah couple butted by a Yellowstone bison last week have a lesson to share: don’t forget bison are wild!

Last week, we reported newlyweds Theodore Schrader, 74, and Patsy Holmes, 72, of Heber City, Utah were out walking on the boardwalk in the Mud Volcano Area when a bison butted Holmes, who then fell on Schrader. Rangers quickly moved the couple from the scene and later transported them to the Lake Clinic for treatment.

Holmes ended up traveling via Life Flight to Idaho Falls for additional treatment. Neither were issued citations.

Now, according to Fox 13 Salt Lake City, the couple is in good spirits and wants to share their story.

They were staying in Lake Village and had just arrived when they decided to head to Mud Volcano. According to Holmes, the couple actually encountered two bison just off the boardwalk, plopped down and eating grass:

“He was so happy and he was not irritated at all,” Holmes said. “He was just munching along and munching along, and he was just getting closer and closer.”

Schrader whipped out his camera and snapped a photo.

“The next thing I knew I was whomped right in my rear-end, and it was like nothing I ever felt before,” Holmes said.

Holmes was thrown to the ground and landed on her hip, before slamming right into her husband.

“I thought we were goners,” Holmes said.

They assumed the bison was just getting started.

“He just wanted us to get out of his way, and he just walked across the boardwalk, went off in the greenery, eating some more,” Holmes said. “He wasn’t mad or anything.”


“It’s just a big solid, round skull that hit me and really a lot of force; [Schrader] cried tears because he’s so emotional and sweet,” Holmes said.

The love birds certainly learned their lesson.

“We just weren’t scared of him, and I think that’s the mistake is people need to realize they’re wild animals,” Holmes said.

Holmes added that she still thinks the photos are “cute,” but that she and her husband aren’t heading back to Yellowstone any time soon.

This is the first incident of a bison injuring someone in Yellowstone for 2017. 2015 saw five people injured when they accidentally came upon or deliberately got too close to bison.

Park policy states all people must stay at least 25 yards away from wildlife like bison and elk; visitors must stay at least 100 yards away from wildlife like bears and wolves.

If you encounter a bison near you, whether it be on a boardwalk, near a hiking trail, or even near a lodging facility, please keep your distance. Bison are incredibly territorial and will butt or gore anything (or anyone) that gets all up in their personal space.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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