A teenager was hospitalized after visiting the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where he was gored by a bull bison on Saturday.
The 17-year-old from Colorado was at the North Dakota park with a friend around 11 a.m. when the incident happened.
The teen, whose name was not released due to his age, told NBC News he was walking on the Lower Paddock Creek Trail near the Halliday Well trailhead with his friend and had an entire herd of bison to his left and “one really big bison” to his right.
“And I give him enough space where I was walking around him. I was walking on the trail, and then all the sudden, I just kind of got this feeling that something was like chasing after me,” he said.
The bull bison charged the teen and struck him from behind, badly goring his right thigh. The bison tossed him about six feet into the air, according to a press release from the national park service.
The teenager told NBC he landed on his backpack – which may have saved him from sustaining more severe injuries.
At about 11:30 a.m., park staff was notified of the incident and responded with rangers and the Billings County Emergency Medical Services. The teenager had to be helicoptered to a hospital in Bismarck – about 130 miles away.
The teenager insists he kept his distance from the bull bison and did nothing to aggravate the animal before the attack.
This frightening occurrence comes less than a week after a 9-year-old girl was thrown several feet into the air by a charging bison at Yellowstone National Park.
The girl was one of about 50 visitors at the Old Faithful Geyser when the bison attacked. The extent of her injuries was not shared.
Though bison are allowed to roam freely in national parks, rangers and staff are taking time to remind visitors to stay at least 25 yards – the length of two full-sized buses – away from large animals like bison, elk, deer and horses.
“Park staff would like to remind visitors that bison are large, powerful, and wild. They can turn quickly and can easily outrun humans. Bulls can be aggressive during the rutting season, mid-July through August,” the press release shared.