A man visiting Estes Park, Colorado, learned the hard way why it's important to give elk a wide berth during rutting season. The man was one of three visitors who wandered too close to a large bull elk as it crossed a stream. As they turned to leave the animals followed, giving a bluff charge to force them away and nearly knocking the senior off his feet.
The incident was caught on camera and shared on YouTube channel Colorado Wildlife and Adventure Videos as a warning to others visiting Estes Park this fall. The clip, which you can watch below, also shows a bull charging a man and his dog elsewhere in the park. Thankfully the man has his pet on a short leash, and keeps it under control while he retreats.
Everyone here got away with a warning, but not everyone is so lucky. In October 2020, a man suffered a puncture wound that sliced his kidney in half when he was gored by an elk on a Colorado golf course.
Estes Park is a beautiful town famed for its elk population, and serves as a base for many people visiting nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. The town even holds an annual Elk Fest event, which celebrates the magnificent animals with two days of live music, performances, bugling contests, and a 5k race.
However, while it welcomes people to see the animals in their full splendor, the town also warns visitors to take care for their own safety, and that of the elk.
"The most important is to give them their space," says Estes Park Visitor Center. "Keep at least 75 feet between you and the elk, about the length of two school buses. If the elk notice you, you’re too close!"
If you're planning a trip to Estes Park this fall, take a look at our guides how to enjoy elk rutting season safely and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters. You might also be interested in our top tips for wildlife photography, which includes lots of practical advice from a professional photographer.
- The best binoculars: enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.