A man put himself in serious danger last week by attempting to feed a bison just outside Yellowstone National Park. The incident took place at a ranch about 15 miles from the park's east entrance.
In a video shared by a friend (which you can watch below), the man can be seen holding a bunch of leaves just a few inches from the bison's face. The animal immediately puts its horns down, snorts, and charges at him. The friend claims that the bison was a solitary male, over 10 years old, and may have been injured, which makes the stunt particularly unkind, and it could have resulted in serious injury.
"Thomas [the man feeding the bison] was the animal whisperer but this was definitely not the smartest thing to do," he admits in the video's description. "Everyone was okay, no injuries."
Bison cause more injuries at Yellowstone than any other animals, including bears and snakes, according to the National Park Service. In fact, rangers have to frequently remind people they are powerful wild animals. The park shared a poster urging people not to pet the fluffy cows earlier this year after three people were gored within the space of a week.
Bison are particularly unpredictable during their mating season, known as the rut, which lasts from late summer to early fall. At this time males are more territorial than usual, and more prone to aggression.
A photo posted by on
The 'feeding' incident took place on private property, but it's always sensible to follow the National Park Service's rules and keep at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from bison at all times. Never approach or disturb them, and remember that if your presence causes them to change their behavior, you're too close.
For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.