Herd Of Yellowstone Bison Outrun 3 Grizzly Bears And Push Calves Into Rushing River To Survive

Yellowstone bison crossing river

iStockphoto / Brent_1

Bison once roamed from Alaska to North Florida and had herds that numbered 25,000 or more. It’s estimated there were upwards of 75 million bison in the United States in the early 1800s before settlers decimated the population in a hurry.

These days, the largest herd of wild bison is found at Yellowstone National Park and is believed to be just under 6,000 bison strong, as of last Summer.

A recent viral video uploaded to the ‘Yellowstone Video’ channel on YouTube showcases the strength of the Yellowstone bison herd. A group was filming the bison herd when it got gravely close to three grizzly bears.

Both parties quickly noticed each other. Normally, bears very rarely eat bison unless they’re already dead from a wolf attack, old age, or a car accident. But that’s adult bison. Grizzlies might take a run at a bison calf if it they’re hungry enough.

So the herd goes sprinting off toward the water and away from the grizzly bears. Upon reaching the river’s edge the calves want nothing to do with the rushing water so the adult bison give them a necessary nudge and push them into the flowing water.

Thankfully, survival instincts kicked in and the bison calves were able to swim to the other side and safely evade the three bears.

Always Be Cautious And Practice Safety Around Yellowstone Bison

This seems as good a time as any to remind everyone of bison safety rules. Tourists go viral every year, and some get injured, after getting too close to wild bison.

In the 14 years between 1992 and 1978 only 56 people were attacked at Yellowstone which is home to one of the most robust bison populations in the USA.

Nationwide there is an average of 3.73 bison incidents per year. But there has been a rise in attacks recently as more Americans have been visiting State and National Parks.

A woman was gored by a bison in Texas last October. After the incident, she outlined the ‘rule of thumb’ for maintaining a safe distance.

‘The Thumb Rule’ helps people keep a recommended 50-yard distance away. If you hold your thumb up and you cannot cover the bison then you are too close to the animal at risk of a potential bison attack, should things go south.


Replying to @brendita707 Bison Etiquette 101: Lesson 2 Personal Space. Many have said I was too close. Even with a camera on zoom, it was too close. I was never trying to get closer. But bison need their personal space.

♬ Too Close – Zindee & Holly Auna

Always exercise caution when in the presence of wild animals. Especially when those wild animals weigh several thousand pounds.