A man visiting Yellowstone National Park found out the hard way why it's a bad idea to taunt a bull elk – even once their mating season is over.
A video of the incident was shared on Instagram by TouronsOfNationalParks, which specializes in highlighting bad behavior at US National Parks – often involving elk, bears, and bison. In the clip (which you can watch below), the man encounters the animal while driving along a snowy road. Rather than stopping, turning off his engine and waiting for the elk to pass, he drives closer and asks whether it wants a fight.
The tourist even winds down his car window to record the elk more easily, despite the animal showing signs of agitation. A few seconds later, it charges the car, puncturing the front left tire.
As the National Park Service (NPS) explains, although their mating season is long over, elk don't shed their antlers until late winter or even early spring, so the bulls at Yellowstone are still in their full glory. In some years, the occasional male has even been spotted sporting a full set of antlers in May.
A photo posted by on
Although not normally aggressive, elk are wild animals, and can be unpredictable. Females (cows) are particularly defensive around their young, while males (bulls) are most likely to charge or attack during the mating season in late fall.
"The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car," says the NPS. "Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk."
For more advice, see our guide how to enjoy elk rutting season safely, which includes practical tips of all times of year.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
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.