Thoughtless tourists mob bull elk in Rocky Mountains National Park

Bull elk at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

Despite warnings from the National Park Service to give animals more space, a throng of tourists have been caught on camera milling around a group of bull elk at Rocky Mountain National Park.

The incident was recorded by husband and wife wildlife photographers Good Bull Outdoors, and shared via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world. Other videos shared in recent weeks have included people posing for photos with an 'absolute unit' of a bison and leaning over an actively boiling geyser.

In the latest clip, which you can watch below, a large group of park visitors have gathered just a few feet from the elk, with one man crouched down at antler-level in front of one animal.

"The worst part was we managed to get people to stop on both sides and make a gap for the bull to cross," said Good Bull Outdoors. "Then this guy walks around people and stops next to the elk making the elk nervous enough to move further down."

The NPS advises staying at least 25 yards (23 meters) from elk at all times. If you're not sure what that looks like, hold out your arm, close one eye, and give the elk a thumbs-up. If you can't hide the whole animal behind your thumb, you need to back up. It's wisest to appreciate them from the safety of your car, or use a pair of binoculars or a long lens. 

Females tend to be most dangerous during the spring when protecting their calves, while males are at their most unpredictable during the rut, which takes place from September to October. During this time, part visitors can see bulls squaring off against one another, clashing antlers, and bugling in the evening.

The elk are at their most impressive during the rut, and it's spectacular to witness if you're careful and respect the animals' space. If you're planning to check it out later this year, take a look at 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.