Idaho man charged with wildlife harassment after kicking Yellowstone bison

A group of bison crosses the road in Yellowstone National Park near the Madison River in April 2023. (Clark Corbin of the Idaho Capital Sun)

An Idaho Falls man was arrested and charged with disturbing wildlife last week after he allegedly kicked a bison in the leg after drinking in Yellowstone National Park and harassed the rest of the herd, injuring himself, according to park officials.

Clarence Yoder, 40, is accused of harassing the bison near the park's west entrance on April 21, resulting in charges of being under the influence of alcohol to the extent of endangering one's self, disorderly conduct, approaching wildlife and causing a disturbance of wild animals. According to a Yellowstone National Park spokesperson.

Park officials said it was the first time this year that a bison had injured a park visitor. Last year, a female phoenix was gored by a bison, the only incident reported last year, although it was unclear how far away she was before the bison attacked. In 2022, there were two visitors injured by bison.

After other park visitors reported that Yoder had kicked a bison, rangers discovered the car he was in in West Yellowstone and arrested him. The Rangers also charged the driver of the vehicle, 37-year-old McKenna Bass of Idaho Falls, with driving under the influence, interference caused by failure to use emergency lights and disturbing wildlife.

Yoder, who suffered minor injuries from the bison, was taken to a medical facility, treated and then taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center.

Yoder and Bass pleaded not guilty last Monday. They face up to six months in prison for each charge. Park officials said the incident remains under investigation.

Park visitors must maintain a minimum distance of 25 meters from all large animals in the park – including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, elk and coyotes – and a minimum distance of 100 meters from bears and wolves.

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