There’s a reason Yellowstone National Park asks visitors to keep a safe distance from all wild animals. Get too close, and you can end up being attacked or rushed by a grizzly, like a suburban Chicago woman did this summer. Or, if you step between a rutting bull elk and his cows, the bull could lower his head and charge.
In September, a Yellowstone tourist was almost on the wrong end of a young bull’s horns on the lawn in front of a hotel at Mahomet Hot Springs. The unidentified man, seen in the video below released by ViralHog last week, tried to video a bugling bull with his phone, but didn’t realize he had just placed himself between a cow and the rutting bull.
As you can see, the man scrambles away and falls to the ground as the bull charges.
“Everyone’s attention was on this bull as he and another bull were bugling at each other,” tour bus driver Randall Champion told USA Today/For The Win. “I saw this idiot walk out onto the lawn to film the bull without realizing he was now between the bull and the cows. You can see when the bull turns his head back, he sees the idiot and slowly starts lowering his head and moving towards him. The guy just keeps filming. The bull picks up speed and now everyone is seeing what is about to happen—except the idiot.”
Human-animal encounters are common at Yellowstone. That’s why the Park asks patrons to remain 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards from bison, elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, moose, and coyotes.
But some folks just can’t resist getting close to these animals. For most it ends with a “good” story to tell. But there’s typically one bear attack inside Yellowstone each year (some have been fatal), though the victim is often a hiker or camper who accidentally runs into a grizzly, not someone deliberately enticing a bear.
Champion told USA Today that he has witnessed multiple dangerous situations unfold because of Yellowstone tourists over the years. He said he has seen a father tell his children to sit on the back of a resting elk while it was on the ground, a woman try to pet a bison, and teenage girls who tried to pick up grizzly cubs while the mother was nearby—standing on her hind legs, ready to charge.