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Man accused of kicking bison at Yellowstone National Park is injured by animal and then arrested on alcohol charge

Bison returning in numbers to Yellowstone
Bison returning from brink of extinction in Yellowstone 04:56

A man who kicked a bison in the leg was then injured by the bison in Yellowstone National Park, according to park officials, marking the first such time a visitor was injured by one of the iconic animals at the park this year.

Park rangers arrested and jailed Clarence Yoder, 40, after he was treated for minor injuries, officials said Monday.

Rangers got a call about the man allegedly harassing a bison herd and kicking one of them about seven miles inside the park's west entrance on April 21. Officials did not disclose how the bison injured the man or whether it tried to gore him.

Rangers stopped Yoder in a car driven by another person in nearby West Yellowstone, Montana, Yellowstone officials said in a release Monday.

Park officials didn't describe Yoder's injuries from the bison. He was charged with being under the influence of alcohol, disorderly conduct, and approaching and disturbing wildlife.

His 37-year-old companion, McKenna Bass, was charged with driving under the influence, failing to yield to a police car and disturbing wildlife.

A bison next to a danger sign. National Park Service / Jacob W. Frank

The two men from Idaho Falls, Idaho, pleaded not guilty in a court appearance April 22.

Bison are the largest land mammal in North America, with bulls weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Despite their size, bison can sprint up to 40 mph. They routinely injure tourists who get too close.

Yellowstone officials urge people to stay at least 25 yards away from all large wildlife in the park.

Some Yellowstone facilities began opening for the busy summer season last week, a process that will continue into June.

Park officials said this marked the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in 2024. The last reported incident occurred on July 17, 2023 when a 47-year-old woman was gored by one of the animals and suffered significant injuries to her chest and abdomen. 

There were three reported incidents in 2022, including one when a woman got within 10 feet of a bison before the animal gored her and tossed her 10 feet in the air.The 25-year-old woman, from Grove City, Ohio, sustained a puncture wound and other injuries.

Yellowstone is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.  

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