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Man allegedly kicks bison, sustains injury while intoxicated in Yellowstone National Park

It's the first report in 2024 of a park visitor being injured by a bison.
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Posted at 2:27 PM, Apr 29, 2024

An Idaho man is facing charges after allegedly harassing a herd of bison and sustaining minor injuries while under the influence in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

A park press release said 40-year-old Clarence Yoder of Idaho Falls, Idaho approached a bison within 25 yards on the afternoon of April 21 and was injured by the bison. The incident happened on the West Entrance Road near the Seven Mile Bridge, 7 miles east of YNP’s West Entrance, according to the release.

The release said rangers responded to a report of a person who harassed a herd of bison, kicking one bison in the leg, and located the suspect's vehicle near the West Entrance. Yoder was stopped in the town of West Yellowstone.

Yoder was arrested and charged with the following: being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that may endanger oneself; disorderly conduct as to create or maintain a hazardous condition; approaching wildlife; and disturbing wildlife.

According to the release, the driver of the suspect vehicle, McKenna Bass, 37 of Idaho Falls, was also arrested and cited for driving under the influence, interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation, and disturbing wildlife.

Yoder was taken to a medical facility where he was evaluated and treated for minor injuries from the bison encounter. He was taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center after being medically released.

Yoder and Bass appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, April 22. The release said each violation can result in up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail.

The incident is still under investigation, and there is no further information to share, according to the release.

YNP says this is the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in 2024. There was one reported incident in 2023 and three in 2022.

YNP shared the following safety guidelines in the release:

  • Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached. When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot or in a developed area, give it space. Stay more than 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes – and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.
  • Read more about safety in the park [nps.gov], including how to behave around wildlife. The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.
  • Protect the park today and for future generations by taking the Yellowstone Pledge! [nps.gov]