As a tour bus driver in Yellowstone National Park all summer, Randall Champion saw his share of tourists acting stupid by disregarding park guidelines on viewing wildlife from a safe distance.
The latest example was a man who thought it was a good idea to film a scene unfolding in front of the hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs where three bull elk were competing for the same group of females grazing on the lawn.
“Everyone’s attention was on this bull as he and another bull were bugling at each other,” Champion explained to USA Today/For The Win. “I saw this idiot walk out onto the lawn to film the bull without realizing he was now between the bull and the cows. You can see when the bull turns his head back, he sees the idiot and slowly starts lowering his head and moving towards him. The guy just keeps filming. The bull picks up speed and now everyone is seeing what is about to happen—except the idiot.”
The video, shot in September but just released by ViralHog on Thursday, shows what happens next:
“They start yelling at him, and at the last instance, he realizes he is in trouble, and in a panic he tries to run but can’t coordinate his limbs and down he goes,” Champion continued. “He scrambles up and almost gets hit by a car.”
As he hurried across the road, he is seen laughing.
“I think it’s a nervous laugh because everyone is yelling at him how stupid he is, and he is embarrassed when he realizes they’re right,” Champion added.
While viewing wildlife in Yellowstone, the guidelines say to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards away from other large animals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes. And petting wildlife is strictly prohibited, though apparently that commonsense guideline fails to register with some people.
Champion shared with For The Win Outdoors some examples of what he’s heard from tourists: “Like the father telling his kids to go sit on the back of an elk that was lying down so he could get that photo, or the lady that was trying to pet the 2,000-pound bison, or the teenage girls who thought the little bear cubs were cute and wanted to go pick one up while the mother bear was standing on hind legs getting ready to charge.”
As for the elk charging the man in this story? “Instances like this happened almost every day the whole time I was there,” Champion told For The Win Outdoors.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Charging elk sends ‘idiot’ Yellowstone tourist tumbling