Alaskan Man Injured by Bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Published July 8, 2017

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK – A 65-year-old Alaskan man was injured by a bison on June 30 at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Michael Turk from Juneau, Alaska was hiking on the Buckhorn Trail between 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to capture photos of the sunset when he encountered a bison as he approached his photo location.

He stopped to take additional photos of another bison he encountered while returning to Juniper Campground.

Turk recalls that sometime while he was photographing the bison, it turned toward him and charged. He lost consciousness and sustained a large laceration on his left inner thigh in addition to other cuts and bruises.

Visitors are reminded that national parks wildlife is wild. Wildlife should not be approached, no matter how tame or calm they appear. When an animal is near a trail or boardwalk, visitors should still give it a wide berth, not approaching closer than the recommended safe distances: 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.

Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run and are unpredictable and dangerous. Visitors are advised to always give the animals enough space, even if that means altering their plans to avoid crowding the animal.

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