When people fail to understand each other, the result can be frustrating.
Failing to understand wild animals can be a whole lot more painful, as Rebecca Clarke found out this month at Caprock Canyons State Park in Texas.
The video shows her trying to walk past a group of bison on little cat feet without bothering any of them.
“I don’t want to deal with them,” she said in the video. “I just want to go by.”
The scene of grazing animals turned to frenzy as one of the bison turned and charged. Clarke ran and yelled while being chased.
Clarke could not outrun the animal. She was gored and tossed into a bush, according to a follow-up video posted to her TikTok account.
“Inside Edition” did a segment about Clarke’s experience:
Eventually, she was able to contact her son via text and be rescued.
She ended up spending six days in a hospital because of her injuries.
It all could have been potentially avoided if Clarke had noticed the bison’s tails twitching. As another follow-up video on her TikTok account makes clear, the twitching tails were telling her loud and clear that she was in real danger.
Clarke is now a firm believer in what the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife calls its rules of “bison etiquette.”
The site said “bison can communicate with us…through body language, that is! Agitated or anxious bison will raise their tails up in a question mark. Other signs of agitation or disapproval are pawing the ground and lowering its head.”
“In bison culture, a head-on gaze can communicate a threat or just simply rude behavior, especially to dominant males,” the site stated, urging anyone seeing those behaviors to leave.
“As a rule, bison require at least 50 yards (half a football field) between them and people. Use the ‘Rule of Thumb’ to make sure you are far enough away: Stretch your arm out away from your face and give bison a thumbs up! Now close one eye. Can you cover the bison with your thumb? If not, you’re too close!”
“Don’t get too close. Believe it or not, you’re in their territory. Most wild animals don’t love it when you invade their space,” the site advised.
“Don’t provoke, sneak up on, or scare animals. Wild animals are unpredictable and that innocent-looking deer will protect itself at all costs. Trying to provoke them is a recipe for disaster,” the site added.
The site advises caution and common sense are the best things to pack for a hike.
“In the majority of cases, wild animal encounters are a non-issue. While you’re on the trail, it’s fun to see animals. But you should always use common sense and know what to do if an animal encounter goes wrong,” the site said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.