To “gore” is to “pierce or wound with something pointy (such as a horn or knife),” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. With that context, I can now tell you that a 71-year-old woman was gored by a bison this week in Yellowstone National Park.
On June 29, tourists from West Chester, Pennsylvania were visiting Storm Point at Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The tourists — a 71-year-old woman and her daughter — inadvertently approached the bison as they returned to their vehicle, and the animal charged. The 71-year-old was gored, and is currently recovering from non-life threatening injuries at a hospital in Cody, Wyoming, according to a release from the National Parks Service. The victim has not been identified.
“Approaching bison threatens them, and they may respond by bluff charging, head bobbing, pawing, bellowing, or snorting,” the release reads. “These are warning signs that you are too close and that a charge is imminent.”
The goring is the second bison attack in Yellowstone this week and the third in 2022. A 34-year-old Colorado man was gored by a bison near Old Faithful on June 27 as he and his family were walking on the nearby boardwalk. He sustained injuries to his arm. Similarly, a 25-year-old Ohio woman was gored on May 30 after she approached a bison at Black Sand Basin in the park, leaving only 3.05 m between her and the animal. The bison subsequently tossed the woman that same distance into the air. These cases also resulted in non-life threatening injuries.
The thread that connects all these incidents is proximity: the National Parks Service requires visitors to maintain a distance of at least 22.86 m away from all large animals, including deer, bighorn sheep, and bison. The Parks Service also warns that bison can run three times as fast as humans and have injured more guests than any other animal in Yellowstone National Park.
These attacks are a reminder that national parks, while beautiful and serene, are also the homes of wild animals — we are just their guests.