A man hiking just outside Rocky Mountain National Park had a narrow escape when he strayed too close to a bull elk, which charge and flipped him head-first over a low wall. The incident was captured on video during last year's rutting season, but has recently started recirculating on Instagram.
In the clip, which you can watch below, the man is on a boardwalk with his head down, and fails to spot the large animal walking towards him from an adjacent field. The elk immediately goes on the offensive, charging the man and tossing him with its antlers. Despite landing on his head and shoulders, he seemed to be unhurt and was helped to his feet by passers-by.
A photo posted by on
Elk are the largest members of the deer family, and males can weight several hundred pounds, so this hiker was lucky to come away unscathed.
As the National Park Service explains, elk descend from high country into meadows during the rutting season in the fall. Males can become aggressive and dangerous, and many people have been injured after failing to pay attention to their surroundings or getting too close for a photo.
Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park are advised to avoid disturbing the animals by shutting off car lights and engines, shutting car doors quietly, speaking softly, and observing from a distance that's comfortable for the elk. If the elk change their behavior, you are too close.
If you are charged by an elk, the NPS advises you to take shelter in your vehicle, or behind a tall, sturdy barrier as soon as possible.
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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.