AP NEWS

Utah woman says bison flipped her into air, broke her ankle

September 30, 2019
Kayleigh Davis talks about being attacked by a bison two days earlier as she recovers in Ogden on Sunday, September 29, 2019. (Winston Armani/KSL-TV via The Deseret News via AP)
Kayleigh Davis talks about being attacked by a bison two days earlier as she recovers in Ogden on Sunday, September 29, 2019. (Winston Armani/KSL-TV via The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Kayleigh Davis was hiking on a trail Friday evening at Antelope Island State Park in Utah chasing the sunset, when she was suddenly, violently, flipped into the air by a bison.

“I’m up in the air thinking, ‘What’s going to happen to me after this?’” Davis said Monday.

When she looked up, the bison was hovering over her. The 22-year-old woman screamed as the large, shaggy animal sniffed her and dug in its hooves before eventually leaving her alone, she said.

The incident left her with a broken ankle and a gash on her leg.

It’s not clear what prompted the bison to charge Davis.

Davis said she spotted the bison about a quarter mile (0.4 kilometers) ahead of her off the trail. She froze, turned around, and ran toward her friend.

“I saw four bikers approaching me on the trail, so I waved at them to try to get their attention,” Davis said. “But then I look back over my shoulder and see the bison charging toward me ... I think they (the bikers) spooked them.”

The friend Davis was with, Kyler Bourgeous, was also attacked by a bison on the island in June, said Lt. Eric Stucki with Utah State Parks.

Those bison attacks are the only two reported on the island this year, but Stucki doesn’t believe either victim “did anything out of the ordinary” to antagonize the bison, he said.

Friday was Bourgeous’s first time back on the island after being attacked.

“I thought my incident was a freak accident with really bad luck with the positioning, and that we’d be fine going back out there,” he told KSL-TV.

Antelope Island wildlife include hundreds of bison. The state park is connected to the Great Salt Lake’s southeastern shore by a 7-mile (11-kilometer) causeway.

Davis and Bourgeous said they don’t have any future dates planned at the island.

Still, the incidents haven’t scared them away — they are considering volunteering at the island’s visitor center while Davis’s ankle heals, she said.

As of Monday afternoon, Davis was still recovering from her injuries at a hospital in northern Utah.