Two women attacked by bison at national parks

Two women have been seriously injured in separate bison attacks at national parks in recent days, according to park officials. The incidents occurred at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The women, whose identities have not been disclosed, were taken to hospitals for treatment. Park officials are currently investigating both attacks.

In the most recent incident, a 47-year-old woman from Phoenix suffered significant injuries to her chest and abdomen when she was gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park on Monday. The attack took place near Yellowstone Lake, where the woman and another person encountered two bison. Despite attempting to walk away, one of the bison charged and pierced the woman with its horns. She was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls for treatment. No further details about her condition have been provided.

A few days earlier, a woman from Minnesota was attacked by a bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The woman sustained injuries to her abdomen and foot during the incident, which occurred on the Painted Canyon trail. Park rangers and emergency medical workers provided initial treatment before she was transported to a hospital in Dickinson, North Dakota. The woman is currently in serious but stable condition.

When it comes to encounters with wild animals, park officials have long advised visitors to give them space. The National Park Service recommends staying at least 25 yards away from large animals such as the bison that the women encountered. For bears and wolves, the recommended distance is over 100 yards. If necessary, visitors should turn around and go in the opposite direction to avoid close proximity to wild animals.

Yellowstone National Park is home to thousands of bison, while Theodore Roosevelt National Park has several hundred. In recent years, there have been multiple incidents involving bison attacks, highlighting the dangers of approaching these animals too closely. In 2022, a man was gored by a bull bison after getting too close, and a woman was flung into the air by a bison after coming within 10 feet of it. In 2019, a 9-year-old girl was sent airborne by a bison’s headbutt. Bison have reportedly injured more people in the park than any other animal, including grizzly bears, moose, and wolves.

Researchers have found that the majority of bison attacks occur during the summer mating season, particularly in June and July. Despite official warnings, the seemingly calm demeanor of bison can deceive visitors into a false sense of security. A study conducted between 2000 and 2015 revealed that all injured individuals had been within approximately 20 feet of the bison before the attacks occurred. Furthermore, four out of five people were actively approaching the bison before being charged.