"He'll kill you!" – video shows clueless man saunter within feet of angry elk

Bull elk bugling at Yellowstone National Park, USA
Elk can be unpredictably aggressive at any time of year, and more so during rutting season (Image credit: Getty)

Elk rutting season in Colorado may be drawing to a close for the year, but as one  man recently proved, hikers aren't out of the woods yet in elk country. A recently circulated video shows the seemingly unconcerned man stroll past a testosterone-fueled bull elk as it charges at him.

The video, which you can watch below, was published to TikTok and is tagged in Estes Park, which sits at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, home to over 3,000 elk. The clip is filmed from across the river, and you can hear onlookers urging the man to run as he saunters within a couple of feet of an aggressive bull elk.

"Get out of there! He'll kill you," one woman can be heard screaming as the giant bull elk makes to charge the man who takes a few steps towards the river before continuing to amble along the riverside at a glacial pace. Several cow elk can also been lying down.

The man luckily escapes injury, perhaps not realizing how narrow his escape was. Already this rutting season, we've reported on numerous elk encounters, including one that's been taking out its aggression on cars and hikers in Colorado.


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Elk safety

If you haven’t seen bull elk in mating season, you’d be forgiven for thinking these herbivorous ungulates are docile creatures that simply hang out on the pasture, munching on grass. However, elk can be unpredictably aggressive at any time of year, and more so during rutting season in the late summer and early fall, as well as during calving season in the late spring when the cow elk will fiercely protect their young. 

Elk are known to attack people who get too close. Always keep you dog on a leash around elk, keep your distance, and if you accidentally get too close, back away slowly. Learn more in our article on elk rutting season.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.