WILDLIFE

Encounter a bison? Wildlife officials say to keep your distance

Jun 11, 2024, 8:00 PM

A bison pictured at Antelope Island. If you encounter a bison in the wild, the best thing to do is ...

A bison pictured at Antelope Island. If you encounter a bison in the wild, the best thing to do is keep your distance. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns flocking to Antelope Island this summer will be sharing the park with over 700 bison. 

Faith Heaton-Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says if you ever find yourself near one, the best thing to do is leave it alone, since bison can be very territorial.

“Just because they’re not predators doesn’t mean that they can’t be dangerous,” she said. “So especially when they’ve got babies around, you definitely need to give them their space.”

Jolley says there’s a good chance you’ll run into some on Antelope Island roadways.

“If a bison is in the middle of the road, just wait for it to pass. Stay in your vehicle, don’t get out, just wait for it to cross the road and then you can proceed. If a bison is on the side of the road, you are okay to just slowly drive around it,” she said.

If you encounter a bison on a trail, the best thing to do is back away slowly. You’re way too close if the bison stops what its doing to pay attention to you, Jolley said. 

“Whatever distance you think you should stay away from them, double it.” 

Jolley said it’s smart to leave the trail in order to avoid a bison. 

“If you’re hiking and come around a corner and [a bison] is close to you or right on the trail, we recommend backing away slowly and return the way you came from.”

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Encounter a bison? Wildlife officials say to keep your distance