Rogue elk injures dogs, then attacks couple in Colorado

Elk charging couple in Colorado
(Image credit: Ashley Unger / NatureIsMetal)

Elk typically prefer to avoid humans, but accidentally aggravate one and you could find a 700lb animal hurtling towards you at 40mph. One couple in Colorado found that out the hard way when they failed to spot a cow elk hiding near their home as they returned from a walk with their dogs.

In a video recorded by Ashley Unger and shared this week on Instagram account NatureIsMetal, the pair can be seen walking towards their front door, unaware of the elk until it breaks into a sprint. The man barely makes it inside in time, narrowly avoiding being knocked down and trampled.

The video, which you can see below, was shot during the spring, when cows are fiercely protective of their offspring. They often leave their calves hidden in grass and shrubs while they forage, and can become very aggressive if a person accidentally comes too close.

According to the video's caption, this female had recently given birth and had left her calf in a bush near the couple's home. She was particularly on edge, having attacked a pair of stray dogs earlier the same day and injured one so severely that it had to be euthanized.

Earlier this year, wildlife officials in Colorado warned visitors to take particular care around elk after a cow was spotted ramming cars that came too close to where her calf was hidden.

"We have been receiving several reports of a particular cow in the area of Morgan St and University Dr charging at vehicles and people," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Please avoid this area if possible and find a different route for at least the next few days. The cow has 'body slammed' at least one car causing damage to the vehicle."

For tips on ho to stay safe around elk, see our guides wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters and 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.