Woman Sustains Major Injuries After Bison Attack in Yellowstone National Park


Jul. 18 2023, Published 2:50 p.m. ET

A bison walks on grass
Source: Getty Images

Bison are majestic creatures, but you need to observe them from afar, or else you could get injured. The U.S. National Park Service is reminding tourists to keep their distance from wild animals after a woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park on July 17, 2023.

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Keep reading for the full story: How the woman is recovering from the bison attack, other times Yellowstone bison have attacked humans, and how to stay safe when visiting natural areas inhabited by bison.

Two bison grazing in a field.
Source: Getty Images
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A woman was "gored" by a bison in Yellowstone National Park.

According to the National Park Service, a 47-year-old woman from Phoenix was walking with another person in a field in front of Lake Lodge Cabins on the north shore of Lake Yellowstone, when they encountered two bison. The Park Service didn't say whether the two people attempted to touch the bison, and it’s unknown how close they actually were to the animals.

Upon seeing the bison, the visitors turned to walk away from them, and that’s when one of the bison charged and gored (cut into) the woman. The woman sustained “significant injuries to her chest and abdomen” and was flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in a helicopter. Her condition was unknown as of July 18, 2023.

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Park Service representatives have repeatedly warned people to keep their distance from bison and other wild animals after several incidents occurred when tourists got too close for comfort.

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Another woman was attacked by a bison after she tried to pet it.

In May 2023, a video went viral of a woman trying to pet a bison at Yellowstone National Park. In the video, a bison is seen grazing along a pathway when a group of visitors walks past it. One woman reaches her hand out as if to pet the giant animal while someone in the group is taking her picture. The bison throws up its head, hitting the woman with its horns. Fortunately, in that incident, the woman was not injured.

A woman tries to pet a bison at Yellowstone National Park.
Source: Inside Edition/YouTube

This woman appears to be trying to pet a bison moments before it lunges at her.

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However, the last reported goring by a bison at Yellowstone was in June 2022. A 34-year-old man from Colorado Springs was gored by a bull bison that charged at him and his family as they walked on a boardwalk near Giant Geyser. In a video of the incident, it appears that the man was attempting to get a child out of the path of the charging bison when he was gored.

"I credit a lot of this stuff to social media – people who want to get that selfie,” Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill told Fox Weather. “They want to get more likes, and they might not realize they are going to end up in the hospital."

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Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than the average person, Yellowstone Park officials say. They have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. They can get especially agitated during mating season, which runs mid-July through mid-August.

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Here are some safety tips for visiting Yellowstone.

The Park Service recommends the safest way to view wildlife at Yellowstone is to remain in your car. If you are outside a vehicle, you should stay at least 25 yards away from bison, elk, coyotes, bighorn sheep, deer, and moose. You should stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. You should also need feed the wildlife or try to pet them.

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If you encounter an animal, “turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in proximity,” say Park Service officials.

“Approaching bison threatens them, and they may respond by bluff charging, head bobbing, pawing, bellowing, or snorting. These are warning signs that you are too close and that a charge is imminent,” states the Park Service website. “Do not stand your ground. Immediately walk or run away from the animal. Spray bear spray as you are moving away if the animal follows you.”

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