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Contact: Grant Geis, 701-623-4466
MEDORA, ND: On Monday, May 18th a visitor was injured by a bison in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A 55-year-old female, from Watford City, North Dakota was hiking around a bend on the Buckhorn Trail between 3:30 and 4:00pm CST, when she encountered a bull bison in the trail.
The bull charged, striking her in the face and knocking her down. The bison remained standing 10 to 15 feet away as she called 911 while on the ground. A US Park Ranger responded and found the bull still standing near the woman. The bison continued to show increasing signs of aggression and was not responsive to hazing measures. The ranger had to shoot the animal to prevent further harm to the injured hiker.
Park staff, McKenzie County Sheriff’s Deputies, and McKenzie County Emergency Medical Services treated the patient at the scene until she could be taken by helicopter to Minot for further care. She was released later that night with broken vertebrae and multiple facial fractures that will require additional medical attention.
Park staff remind the public that bison are large, powerful and fast-moving. Though they may look docile, they are wild animals and may be startled by humans, especially when suddenly encountered at close range. Park regulations require that visitors stay at least 25 yards away from large animals such as bison, elk, deer, and horses.
Last updated: May 21, 2020