A bull elk caused chaos on a Canadian highway recently, butting and attempting to herd visitors' cars at Jasper National Park. The incident was recorded by one of several drivers unable to move as the animal strode across the road, posturing, bluff-charging cars, and bugling.
The clip, which you can watch below, was shared by WildlifeOnVideo (opens in new tab), who explained that it was recorded at the start of the mating season (known as the rut). The bull has since managed to move his harem to a more isolated spot, away from the road.
Most drivers remain in their cars, but a few step outside to get a better view and take photos. Although generally wary of humans, elk are large and powerful animals, and males can be particularly unpredictable during the rut. The US National Park Service advises visitors to always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from elk and bison, and be particularly careful during late summer and early fall.
If you find yourself in close quarters with an elk, tooth-grinding and ear-pointing are signs that the animal is feeling threatened. You should keep facing it and back away until you're a safe distance away.
If the animal charges, don't play dead, because this might result in you being trampled. Instead, try to make yourself look as big as possible, and deploy your bear spray if you have any. Try to hide behind something sturdy like a boulder or car, or climb a tree to get out of harm's way.
For more advice, see our guide how to enjoy elk rutting season safely.
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).
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