When a Texas woman came upon a group of bison during a recent solo hike, she tried to give the powerful animals some space — but it wasn’t enough, video shows.
Rebecca Clark was hiking at Caprock Canyons State Park, near the panhandle, and recording with her phone as she slowly moved past a trio of bison next to a trail, video shared to TikTok shows.
@rebeccaclark Solo hiking at Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway in Texas. I was charged and gored by a bison because I was to CLOSE to be passing them on a trailway They are beautiful creatures protected by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and are a part of the Texas State Bison Restoration Project where the park has restored the historic Charles Goodnight Bison herd (The Official Texas State Bison Herd) to a portion of its former range in the park. I am posting to support safety while enjoying Texas State Parks #TPWD #bisonetiquette101 #hikingsafety #llbean #chaos #rei ♬ dumb dumb – sped up – mazie
At first the bison don’t seem bothered by Clark’s presence, until one suddenly turns and charges. Clark’s calm demeanor disappears and she runs, screaming ‘Oh God’ as the bison rams her from behind.
“He rammed my back, gored me and threw me into a mesquite bush where I laid for 50 minutes until help arrived,” Clark explained in a separate video.
Phone service was weak, but Clark managed to contact friends and family, she said. Eventually, help arrived and she was flown to a hospital for treatment.
Aside from a “hole in my back and lots of stickers and thorns,” Clark was okay, she said.
Some pointed out that Clark was too close and that the bison that rammed her, docile as it may have looked, was displaying its displeasure with its tail movements.
It may seem subtle, but the tail is one way that bison can tell people — and other animals — to go away or else, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“Agitated or anxious bison will raise their tails up in a question mark. Other signs of agitation or disapproval are pawing the ground and lowering its head,” TPWD says. “In bison culture, a head-on gaze can communicate a threat or just simply rude behavior, especially to dominant males. If you see any of these behaviors, leave the area.”
Bison prefer to keep people at a distance and experts recommend staying at least 50 yards away, if possible.
Caprock Canyons State Park, located about 100 miles southeast of Amarillo, features 90 miles of hiking trails that span unique and rugged natural beauty, according to the park’s website. It’s also home to the Texas State Bison Herd, and the animals are one of the main draws.
“You are visiting the home of bison! As a visitor, please observe bison etiquette. This keeps you safe and the bison calm.”
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