OUTDOORS & RECREATION

83-year-old woman gored by bison at Yellowstone National Park

Jun 4, 2024, 3:03 PM | Updated: 6:45 pm

A 83-year-old woman was seriously injured at Yellowstone National Park on Saturday, June 1, 2024, a...

A 83-year-old woman was seriously injured at Yellowstone National Park on Saturday, June 1, 2024, after park rangers said she was gored by a bison that was "defending its space." (Jacob Frank, National Park Service)

(Jacob Frank, National Park Service)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — An 83-year-old woman was seriously injured at Yellowstone National Park over the weekend after park rangers say she was gored by a bison that was “defending its space.”

Park officials said the incident happened on Saturday. The woman, visiting the park from Greenville, South Carolina, was near the Storm Point Trail at Yellowstone Lake when the bison — defending its territory — came “within a few feet of the woman” and then “lifted her about a foot off the ground with its horns,” rangers said on Monday.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital before she was flown by medical helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

Safety reminder

Park rangers did not disclose any other information about the incident or the woman’s condition, but rangers said the incident serves as a reminder about safety around wildlife.

“It’s your responsibility to respect safety regulations and view wildlife from a safe distance,” park rangers wrote in a statement on Monday. “Move away from wildlife if they approach you.”

They said bison account for more visitor injuries than any other species at the park.

That’s not a surprise because animals like bison and moose also account for many wildlife injuries in Utah, according to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolley. Bison aren’t as prevalent in Utah as Yellowstone, but there are still an estimated 500 to 700 bison at Antelope Island State Park and she said the agency has responded to a few similar incidents in recent years.

In most cases, the visitor ends up getting too close to the animal and it triggers an animal response. Jolley said species like bison and moose likely account for more visitor injuries because people feel less intimidated by them than predator species like cougars or bears.

“People see it and are like, ‘That’s not a predator so it’s fine and it’s safe.’ And, in reality, both bison and moose can be really, really aggressive,” she said. “They’re big and bison can gore you and moose can stomp and trample you — so we’ve seen significant injuries from both of these animals.”

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83-year-old woman gored by bison at Yellowstone National Park