The Yellowstone bison may seem docile, but look out! They can travel 30 to 35 mph and are very agile. You do not want to encounter a 2,000 lb. bull or even a 1,000 lb. female. Stay a distance of at least 25 yards when taking pictures of a bison. Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, and exhibit wild behavior just as their prehistoric ancestors because they have not been interbred with cattle.

In the 1800s, the U. S. army almost caused the extinction of the bison, and by 1902 there were only about two dozen bison left in Yellowstone because of poachers. Bison from private herds were used to replenish the bison in the northern part of Yellowstone. Today, there are thousands of free-ranging bison living wild and free in Yellowstone. Wolves and grizzly bears are the only large predators of bison in the park today. Smaller carnivores and scavengers feed on the dead carcasses. Also, birds, such as the magpie perch, will feed on the insects in its coat. Cowbirds will follow the bison’s steps to feed on insects that it disturbs in the grass as it walks.

Three million visitors come to Yellowstone each year to experience nature and view the beautiful mountain scenery, geysers, and of course, the wildlife. While bison look clumsy, slow, stodgy, and docile, they can be very dangerous. For example as recently as June of this year, an elderly woman got within 10 ft. of a bull bison and was repeatedly gored. Over the years, there have been more injuries from bison gorings than from bear attacks in Yellowstone. It is not wise to take a selfie with a bison!


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