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Bison, Elk and Bears Might Be Cute, But These Videos and Statistics From National Parks Suggest Caution

Bison, NPS Photo.

Go ahead, make my day. Run!!! NPS photo by R. Robinson

Ever consider a sprint with an elk or bison? Well, if you're not careful, you just might wind up in that predicament in Yellowstone National Park. And you won't win.

In national parks across the West bears are coming out of hibernation and elk, bison and other ungulates are trying to bulk up the pounds they lost through the winter months. In many parks wildlife is readily visible. And while that's great, you have to be careful out there.

As the videos you can find on this page attest, elk and bison in Yellowstone can be pretty territorial. For elk, you're most likely to run into problems in the fall when the rut arrives. As for bison, they're pretty cantankerous any time of year if you get to close to them. Speaking of closeness, park rules require that you stay at least 100 yards away from bears in Yellowstone, and at least 25 yards away from other wildlife.

The bottom line? Keep your distance from park wildlife.


We have visited many national parks and we have been amazed at the lack of respect some people have for the parks and the wildlife. These videos should be mandatory upon entry for those who have little or no experience sharing the outdoors with wildlife. As a seasoned hiker, I am glad to have seen the videos as a reminder of how quickly a situation can change.

So true, Dorothy, if only that could compete with the lack of respect the National Park Service has shown these animals - specifically the bison - every winter and spring.


Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

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