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Man injured after kicking bison in the leg while under influence of alcohol at Yellowstone

todayApril 30, 2024

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Bruce Alexander / 500px/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — A 40-year-old man who allegedly kicked a bison in the leg while under the influence of alcohol at Yellowstone National Park, was injured by the animal and arrested, officials say.

Clarence Yoder, a 40-year-old man from Idaho Falls, Idaho, approached a bison in Yellowstone National Park on the afternoon of April 21, and was injured by the animal on the West Entrance Road near the Seven Mile Bridge, located 7 miles east of the park’s West Entrance, according to a statement from the National Park Service.

“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,” officials said in a statement detailing the altercation. “They located the suspect’s vehicle near the West Entrance and stopped it in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.”

Yoder was arrested and charged with being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that may endanger oneself, disorderly conduct as to create or maintain a hazardous condition, approaching wildlife, and disturbing wildlife.

The driver of the vehicle Yoder traveled in, 37-year-old McKenna Bass, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was also arrested and cited for driving under the influence, interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation and disturbing wildlife.

Yoder and Bass appeared in court on April 22 and pleaded not guilty to the charges, authorities said. Each violation can result in fines up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

Yoder, who sustained minor injuries from the encounter with the bison, was taken to a nearby medical facility following the incident where he was medically evaluated, treated and released from medical care and was subsequently taken the Gallatin County Detention Center.

“It’s your responsibility to respect safety regulations and view wildlife from a safe distance,” said the National Park Service. “Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached. When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot or in a developed area, give it space. Stay more than 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes – and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.”

This is the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in 2024. The last reported incident occurred on July 17, 2023. There was one reported incident in 2023 and three in 2022, park officials said.

The incident currently remains under investigation and no further details about the altercation are expected imminently.

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