Idaho Man Arrested for Kicking Yellowstone Bison

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
April 30, 2024US News
Idaho Man Arrested for Kicking Yellowstone Bison
Bison roam outside Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Mont., on March 17, 2011. (Janie Osborne/AP Photo)

A man was injured by a bison at Yellowstone National Park after allegedly kicking the animal in the leg, park officials say.

Clarence Yoder, 40, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, being intoxicated “to a degree that may endanger oneself,” as well as approaching and disturbing wildlife, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a statement on April 29.

Mr. Yoder “sustained minor injuries from the encounter with the bison,” and was transported to a local medical facility for evaluation before being taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center.

The incident occurred about seven miles from the park’s entrance, near Seven Mile Bridge, on April 21.

“Rangers responded to the area after receiving a report of an individual who harassed a herd of bison and kicked a bison in the leg,” the agency said.

“They located the suspect’s vehicle near the West Entrance and stopped it in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.”

McKenna Bass, 37, of Idaho Falls, the driver of the vehicle that Mr. Yoder was in, was also arrested and charged with driving under the influence, interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation, and disturbing wildlife.

Ms. Bass and Mr. Yoder both pled not guilty to the charges on April 22.

Each violation can result in fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail, the NPS said.

This was the first time in 2024 that a visitor had been injured by a bison at Yellowstone.

The last reported incident occurred on July 17, 2023, when a 47-year-old woman from Phoenix, Arizona, was airlifted to a hospital after being gored by a bison.

She sustained significant injuries to her chest and abdomen and was transported by helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Officials said the woman was walking with another individual in a field near Lake Lodge when they saw two bison.

“Upon seeing them, the visitors turned to walk away from the bison. One of the bison charged and gored the woman,” park officials said.

The July 17 bison encounter was the only reported incident last year. In 2022, there were three incidents.

Injuries happen yearly at the national park, and park officials urge visitors to keep at least 25 yards away from all large wildlife including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, and deer, and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached,” the NPS said. “When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space.”

In addition, human interference with young wildlife can cause animals to shun their offspring.

Last year, park officials killed a newborn bison because its herd wouldn’t take the animal back after a man picked it up.

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