"If an elk charges, retreat!" Yellowstone Rangers warn park visitors

Two bull elk sparring on road
(Image credit: Getty)

Yellowstone National Park has shared a reminder asking visitors to be particularly careful around elk during the rut. In a Facebook post, the park explained that the animals are particularly unpredictable at this time of year, so it's wise to be extra cautious. 

"While in the park, remember to keep 25 yards away from elk, as well as all other wildlife," the park said. "Males are especially aggressive and protective of their territory right now, and they will not hesitate to charge you if they feel threatened.

"Elk can run up to 40 miles an hour so it's important to always be aware of your surroundings. If an elk charges, retreat!"

The park also shared a video of a particularly magnificent bull elk bugling to help visitors recognize the distinctive sound. In the clip, which you can watch below, the bull is following a cow through a patch of sage brush.

Each bull elk's bugle (a cry that typically starts low and ends as a high-pitched squeal) is different, and identifies him to cows. The sound also warns other males that there's competition in the area, and can carry for miles.

For more advice on how to get the most out of a park visit and see the elk at their most impressive, see our guide how to enjoy elk rutting season safely

Cat Ellis

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.