Careless tourist has frighteningly close call with giant elk at Estes Park

Bull elk bugling
(Image credit: Getty)

A family outing in Estes Park, Colorado, nearly ended in disaster after a man let his daughter wander right up to a huge bull elk with her phone. A passer-by captured the encounter on camera, and can be heard pleading with the girl to step away or risk being gored.

Thankfully this particular animal chooses to ignore the intrusion, 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.

The video (which you can watch below) was shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights examples of bad and careless behavior at sites of natural beauty. Past examples have included visitors poking moose, dabbling their fingers in hot springs, and trying to pet bison.

The clip was posted this week, but appears to have been shot last fall, as the bull is sporting a full rack of antlers. Elk shed their antlers in the spring, then begin to grow a new set a few months later so they're ready for the rut later in the year.

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!"

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).