MEDORA, N.D. — A hiker was injured following an encounter with a bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park on Monday, May 18.
A 55-year-old female from Watford City was hiking around a bend along the Buckhorn Trail between 3:30 and 4 p.m. when she encountered the bison on the trail.
The bison charged her, striking her in the face and knocking her down. The woman managed to call 911 while on the ground as the bison stood 10 to 15 feet away.
A U.S. Park Ranger responded to the call and found the bison still standing near the woman. The bison demonstrated increasing signs of aggression and did not respond to attempted hazing measures. The ranger was forced to shoot the bison to prevent further injury to the hiker.
Park staff, McKenzie County Sheriff's Deputies and McKenzie County Emergency Medical Services treated the hiker at the scene. She was taken via helicopter to a hospital on Monday and released later that night, having suffered broken vertebrae and multiple facial fractures.
Park staff remind visitors that bison are large, powerful and fast-moving. Despite their docile appearance, they are wild and can be startled by humans, especially when encountered at close range. The park requires visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from bison, elk, deer and horses.