Man accused of kicking a bison at Yellowstone National Park is injured and arrested

A man accused of kicking a bison in the leg at Yellowstone National Park while under the influence of alcohol was injured by the animal and later arrested, park officials said Monday.

Clarence Yoder of Idaho Falls, Idaho, approached the bison “too closely (within 25 yards)” on the afternoon of Sunday, April 21, on a road about seven miles east of the park’s West Entrance, according to a National Park Service news release.

The release said that park rangers went to the area after getting “a report of an individual who harassed a herd of bison and kicked a bison in the leg. They located the suspect’s vehicle near the West Entrance and stopped it in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.”

Rangers took the 40-year-old Yoder to a nearby medical facility where he was “evaluated, treated and released from medical care,” the release said. He then was taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center in Bozeman, Montana.

The park did not have further details on the encounter or the nature of Yoder’s injury.

Two arrests in the incident

Yoder faces four charges stemming from his arrest, the release said. They are:

• 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
• Disturbing wildlife

The driver of the vehicle in which Yoder traveled, 37-year-old McKenna Bass of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was also arrested, the release said. Bass faces the following charges:

• Driving under the influence
• Interference for failure to yield to emergency light activation
• Disturbing wildlife

Yoder and Bass both waived their rights to be represented by attorneys and entered not guilty pleas on April 22, according to US District Court documents obtained by CNN,

Each violation can carry fines up to $5,000 and six months in jail, and the case remains under investigation, the NPS release said.

First bison incident in 2024

National parks can pose dangers to visitors, especially those who don’t heed warnings about wildlife and natural hazards.

Yellowstone said this has been the first reported incident of a visitor being injured by a bison in 2024. There was one reported incident in 2023 and three in 2022, the park said.

The park issues cautionary advice, telling visitor to remember that its animals “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 meters) away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes – and at least 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears and wolves.”

Fully grown male bison can reach up to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms), the park says. Despite their bulk, they are considered agile and can run up to 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour). They can jump over objects about 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and can be aggressive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *