Yellowstone bison
A bull bison crossing Yellowstone River in July 2012. Credit: Jim Peaco/NPS

83-Year-Old Woman Gored and Lifted a ‘Foot off the Ground’ by Yellowstone Bison

Park Rangers said as the bison defended its space, it lifted the woman up about a foot with its horns.

Officials in Yellowstone National Park said that an 83-year-old woman was gored by a bison this week. According to the press release, the incident happened on June 1 near the Storm Point Trail. The trail runs along the north side of Yellowstone Lake.

Although the Park Service revealed few details about the case, officials described the bison as "defending its space" as it "came within a few feet of the woman and lifted her about a foot off the ground with its horns."

Following the attack, park rangers transported the woman, who was visiting from Greenville, South Carolina, to a nearby medical clinic. However, they had to transport her to an Idaho hospital by helicopter due to the seriousness of her injuries.

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The Park Service revealed no other details about the case as it's still under investigation.

How to avoid getting gored by bison

As is the case with every animal attack, the Park Service reminds the public to stay at least 25 yards away from all large animals, including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes. They should also stay at least 100 yards from predators like bears and wolves.

"Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal," the Park Service said. "Bison are not aggressive animals but will defend their space when threatened. They are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans."

While animal attacks, such as when a bison gores a person, receive tons of media attention, they're pretty rare. According to reports, the total number of incidents in which a bison gored a human between 200 and 2015 amounted to 25.

The last bison attack in Yellowstone happened in April, when a 40-year-old man got too close to an animal. As the Park Service explain, the man had been harassing a herd and then a bison kicked him in the leg. Authorities later arrested and charged him with being under the influence of alcohol, disorderly conduct, and disturbing wildlife.

According to the Park Service, April's incident was the first bison incident of the year. Last year only had one incident and three in 2022.