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Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy


Yellowstone National Park bison, while decidedly photogenic, should not be used as props in family photos. NPS photo.

A 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy has been hospitalized after a Yellowstone National Park bison, evidently perturbed that he was part of a family photo shoot, tossed the boy about 10 feet into the air.

While park regulations dictate that visitors get no closer than within 25 yards of bison, and no more than 100 yards of bears and wolves, the family reportedly was standing within 2 feet of the bison while trying to take the picture this morning. Visitors reportedly warned the family they were too close to the bison.

The incident occurred just off the trail adjacent to the Uncle Tom’s Trail parking lot along the South Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The bull’s horns did not puncture the boy, and the only outward injuries he suffered were abrasions possibly received from hitting the ground after the fall. However, the boy complained of abdominal pain and so was transported by ambulance to the Lake Clinic and then flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

The name and hometown of the injured juvenile aren’t being released. His current condition is not available.


Why can't people use their heads? I'm glad this child wasn't more seriously injured.

This is the kind of irresponsibility that eventually ruins a visit to the Parks for the rest of us. How long before someone decides that we have to stay 100 yards away from bison too, not just from bears?

The moron parade through our treasured National Parks continues. These parents should be put on a month of volunteer duty, wearing a sandwich board and walking up and down the park roads warning of the dangers of getting too close to wildlife (and the dangers of bad parenting).

Wasn't there an even bigger dumbbell several years back who tried to place his toddler ON the big fluffy buffalo?

The bison have had a very rough time of it; they were upset in the winter. Don't be surprised if we see more of this; it's been a very traumatic time between the slaughter and the hard winter.

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

The parents are complete idiots and should be arrested and prosecuted for child endangerment. They should also be sent to reading remediation so they can understand all the posted signs warning against getting too close to the WILD animals.

People who are totally irresponsible should be punished. A hefty fine is in order ! Even if you don't have any common sense, there are warnings everywhere. People cannot be protected from their stupidity but they sure as heck can pay for it !!! Wildlife are wild and should not have to pay the ultimate price for stupid humans.

These parents have moved into first place for the dumb moron award of the year.

Running a strong second, however, is the comment by Jim MacDonald above. Jim, the bison did have a hard winter, that tends to happen in Yellowstone now and then. Bison calf recruitment has been superb this year, the herd is feasting and reveling in the forage this cool, wet spring, and numbers have not been depressed near to the levels your organization claims.

I'm a full time park ranger, back country in the season, and I'd suggest you get your facts straight. I've read through your blog and your other sites; frankly we don't need another carpet bagger moving to the West and telling everyone how the cow ate the cabbage. Working in the park for five summers grants you some insights others don't have, but it's obvious that there's a great deal about the park you're quite wrong on.

As tempting as it is to anthromoporphize human emotions onto the bison, this child wasn't bumped because the bison are frustrated and they were traumatized this past winter. He was thrown because he was violated the animals sense of protective space and persisted there.

Your credibility has gone to zero with the park staff, and there will be more factual counterpoints to your misdirected commentary in the future. Please exercise your freedom of speech, we'll simply do the same so that people who love Yellowstone and all it offers won't be thrown off track.

Possibly the bison, seeing the decline of the human species, was doing his best to cull the herd and allow only the less common sensically challenged to survive.

When will people realize that this area is not a petting zoo, but is populated by wild animals? Cute and fuzzy. Right.

In the National Military Parks in the East, relic hunters will have their vehicles confiscated. Possibly the Western parks should consider something similar for those intrusive on an animal's space. A couple of hefty bills for emergency personnel, transportation and services, well publicized, may discourage this type of foolish activity.

Thanks Cindy K for telling it like it is to Mr MacDonald. The bison attacked the kid because it stepped past the boundaries of its comfort zone. Though I've never been in the mind of a bison, but I'm pretty certain that it didn't feel all the pent up frustration from the past winter and the subsequent hardships that followed ultimately resulting in an exposive outburst of rage against the unfortunate victim. It seems to me that we have another east-coast transplant that "found" the west and is now going to tell the world his philosophical views through his big city eyes how things "really are" back here in the rugged west. Please Jim, if you could...go back to DC and tell the tourists there not to walk too close to the wildlife in the ghettos because they've had a rough winter and they feel stressed out. By the way, I grew up in Montana, spent alot of time in the back country in close proximity to wild animals, etc. Now I live on the east coast and I'm constantly amazed by the warped views and misconceptions that people in the city have about so many aspects of life in the west in general. I can't wait to get back home to Montana were people have a bit more common sense. Can't wait to here more of your posts Jim!

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