Yellowstone Flashback: When a Thundering Bison Set a Speed Record
How fast can bison run? There was a time not that many years ago that a Yellowstone bison pushed the limits of what we think is possible from these mammoth beasts.
As I recall, this happened in the dead of winter in Yellowstone National Park a couple years ago. It was video captured from some British guys (I think) who were more than a bit concerned about the bison thundering down the snowy roadway. There was good reason for their almost panic.
Let's do some fun bison math. The National Park Service rightly says that a full-grown male bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. The National Bison Range claims a bison can run up to 35 mph. I personally think this big boy was easily clocking that speed.
You can calculate momentum by multiplying mass times velocity. (I didn't know this myself. My wife told me) The equation looks something like this according to Calculator Soup:
p = 14194.2 kg·m/s
p = 102633 lb·ft/s
That means this bison could have hit this vehicle with over 100,000 foot pounds per second. What does that really mean? Let's simplify it to this: Bison > car and passengers.
What a thing to witness though. My family have had bison walk within feet of our family vehicle during every one of our Yellowstone visits. We've had a few run across the road maybe 50 yards in front of us, but nothing quite like this big boy hauling down the highway. Astonishing power and force wrapped in fur.