Lame elk shows phone-toting tourist he's still in charge

Elk sitting down in Colorado, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

A man visiting Estes Park, Colorado, got a shock recently after getting too close to a seemingly lame bull elk. He approached within a couple of feet of the animal, phone in hand, and was forced to jump back when it lowered its antlers to make a menacing warning charge.

The incident, which appears to have taken place last fall judging by the size of the bull's antlers and the way he is scenting his territory, was captured on camera by another visitor who shared the resulting footage on YouTube. It was re-posted this week by Colorado Wildlife and Adventure Videos, and is a timely reminder to give animals plenty of space, particularly during calving and breeding seasons.

Earlier this week, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a reminder to stay well away from wildlife at all times. The warning followed several serious incidents, including one where a man handled a baby bison, causing it to be rejected by its herd, and another where tourists bundled an elk calf into their car and drove it to a police station.

Estes Park is a beautiful town that's a tourist destination in its own right, and serves as a base for many people visiting nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. It's well known for its huge population of elk, and even hosts an annual festival dedicated to the animals each fall.

However, visitors are reminded to always show the elk respect and give them sufficient space, particularly during the rut when males are especially unpredictable, and the spring when females are fiercely protective of their calves.

The local police department warns that: "elk are wild animals which must be observed from a safe distance to avoid injury or death. If an animal is carefully watching you and appears 'jumpy' when you move, you are too close."

For more advice, see our guides how to enjoy elk rutting season safely and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

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.