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Prepping & Survival

Drunk Man Kicks Yellowstone Bison, Hurts Himself, and Gets Arrested

“Touron” season is off to a rip-roaring start at Yellowstone National Park, thanks to a pair of Idaho Falls residents who were arrested on April 21 for drunkenly harassing a herd of bison, according to a press release from YNP. Clarence Yoder, 40, reportedly approached a herd of bison and kicked one in the leg, which unsurprisingly resulted in injuries that prompted Yoder to seek treatment at a nearby medical facility. 

After park rangers transported him for treatment, Yoder was charged with being under the influence of alcohol to the point of endangering oneself, disorderly conduct, approaching wildlife, and disturbing wildlife. McKenna Bass, 37, was also arrested as part of the incident for driving under the influence, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, and wildlife harassment. She was driving Yoder around at the time.

The encounter took place near the Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road, near the Madison River. The area is just barely east of the Montana border in Wyoming, less than seven miles as the crow flies from the gateway town of West Yellowstone. 

Both defendants pled not guilty to the charges in court on April 22. As the press release points out, each violation could result in up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail if Yoder and Bass are convicted.

Read Next: The Trail Is Not Enough for Pierce Brosnan, Who Owes $1,500 for Breaking Tourist Rules at Yellowstone

Unsurprisingly, social media erupted with plenty of comments about the incident, particularly about what combination of alcohol and idiocy is required to make you think you can get away with kicking a free-ranging bison and emerge unscathed.

“Bison? More like bye, son,” one commenter wrote on YNP’s Instagram post about the incident. “It’s tourist-tossing season,” another wrote. 

This is the park’s first instance of a bison injuring a person this year. The last time a visitor was known to be injured by a bison was in July, when 47-year-old Amber Harris was gored after retreating from nearby bison on the north shore of Lake Yellowstone. Unlike in Yoder’s case, Harris didn’t break any park rules, and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result, she suffered two collapsed lungs and seven broken vertebrae.

National parks are hotbeds for tourist behavior that ranges from silly to indicative of a death wish. Actor Pierce Brosnan, for example, took a stroll on restricted Mammoth Hot Springs thermal features in November 2023, resulting in a $1,500 fine. On the other end of the spectrum, a group of tourists forced their terrified children to pose next to an alligator on a bike path in the Everglades in early 2024.

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