The bison bull looks down the lens of Willis Chung's camera. Willis Chung /

By Katie Evans



THE TERRIFYING moment a one tonne Great bison bull forced a hapless physician to flee and abandon his photographic gear has been captured.


Another image shows the spirited animal rolling around vigorously in the dust and dirt of Yellowstone National Park scratching an itch that just couldn’t be reached.

A bison bull at Yellowstone National Park.
Willis Chung /

The animal can then be seen standing in the dust clouds of his own wallowing, looking menacingly at photographer Willis Chung (56) a physician from Denver, USA, as the bull readied himself to charge.


“The bull rocked to its feet, snorted, and trotted over directly towards me,” said Willis.

Finding himself alone with the beast, Willis Chung keeps a safe distance.
Willis Chung /


“I knew my best choice was to head 90 degrees away from the bull’s path, constantly changing my direction to keep moving perpendicular to the bull’s path. I went to my left, yelling “Yea ha!” at the top of my voice and opening my arms wide to look bigger.


“The bull steered off to the right and I continued to the left as we made a circle around the camera and tripod I had decided to leave behind.”

The bison bull is curious about the photographers equipment standing on a tripod.
Willis Chung /


Yellowstone, a 3,472 square mile park is home to around 5,000 bison, as well as housing bears, wolves and moose.


Although they may appear relatively docile, bison’s can become very aggressive when disturbed and have the ability to run at over 30mph.

Physician Willis Chung stays the recommended distance from the large beast.
Willis Chung /


Willis has been taking photos for the past 44 years and often frequents Yellowstone, but has never had an experience like this before.


“It was never my intention to become an object of curiosity to the bull!

Covered in dust, the one tonne animal stands on his feet.
Willis Chung /


“Taking 10-15 minutes to sit quietly invites the animals to come out and once they see me as part of the landscape, they often behave in surprising and lively ways.


“Making sure I wasn’t going to be perforated was my chief priority for a little bit. Once I got to a decent distance I was a bit shaky.

Surrounded by dust, the one tonne bison bull readies himself to charge at the photographer.
Willis Chung /


“Some ask me what I did afterwards, which was take a long tea and lunch break and send thanks to whoever was watching over me from above!”


When asked what words of advice he would give to others in this situation, he said:

When a bison bull wallows, he rolls in the dirt in order to scratch places that cannot be reached.
Willis Chung /

“Plan ahead! Have an escape plan and be willing to leave your gear behind!”



For more information see