What About ’25 Yards’ Is So Hard to Understand?

An idiot pets a bison in Yellowstone National Park. Meanwhile, a half-dozen people film from just feet away.

Watching this video, it’s easy to understand why it has fueled some outrage. Yellowstone National Park has clear rules about how far you should stay away from wildlife. In the case of bison, that distance is 25 yards.

But a man petting a buffalo is such a clear violation of the rules that it has rangers in a tizzy.

“The man captured on video showed an incredible lack of judgment and common sense,” said Park Superintendent Cam Sholly in a statement. “Not only did he put himself and others at risk; he violated regulations designed to keep these animals wild. We expect better from our visitors. Yellowstone National Park reminds visitors that wildlife in the park are wild.

“When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 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.”

It appears the entire group of visitors videoing the exchange was also way too close for comfort. Park officials are investigating the incident.

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Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.