NewsMontana and Regional News


A tourist was injured by a bison in Yellowstone National Park after getting too close

Posted at 2:06 PM, Apr 29, 2024

GREAT FALLS — A visitor from Idaho approached a bison too closely on April 21, 2024, in Yellowstone National Park and was injured by the bison.

Park officials said in a news release that it happened on the West Entrance Road near the Seven Mile Bridge, located seven miles east of the park’s West Entrance.

Rangers responded to the area after receiving a report of a person who harassed a herd of bison and kicked a bison in the leg. They found the suspect's vehicle near the West Entrance and stopped it in the town of West Yellowstone.

Clarence Yoder, 40 years old, was arrested and charged with being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that may endanger oneself, disorderly conduct as to create or maintain a hazardous condition, approaching wildlife, and disturbing wildlife.

The driver of the vehicle Yoder was in — 37-year-old McKenna Bass of Idaho — was also arrested and cited for driving under the influence, interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation, and disturbing wildlife.

Yoder sustained minor injuries from the encounter with the bison.

Rangers took Yoder to a nearby medical facility where he was treated and released from medical care. He was then taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center in Bozeman.

Yoder and Bass appeared in court on April 22 and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The news release notes that at this point, these are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Each violation can result in fines up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

The news release notes that this is the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in 2024. There was one reported incident in 2023, and there were three in 2022 - click here for details.

Park staff said in the news release that wildlife in Yellowstone National Park can be dangerous when approached.

When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay more than 75 feet away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes - and at least 300 feet away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in proximity.

During mating season (rut) from mid-July through mid-August, bison can become agitated more quickly. Use extra caution and give them additional space during this time.

Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans.

From August 2018: