There aren’t many views as breathtaking as an elk herd silhouetted against a snow-covered mountainside, but it is also undeniable that elk can be just as fierce and territorial as any other animal on the planet. Other than its size, the elk’s antlers are probably both the most spectacular and terrifying aspect of the animal. 

When they are around a year old, male elk begin to grow their first set of antlers. Springtime’s increased sunshine hours and lower testosterone levels stimulate antler growth. Elk are normally friendly, peaceful creatures that gather in large herds and cooperate to protect themselves from threats.

Estes Park in Colorado is no stranger to these giant, yet beautiful creatures. A video that shows an elk charging after a man has gone viral. Male elk look for females during the rut, which occurs from mid-September until mid-October. Even though. elk are known for being calm creatures, during the rut, they become more aggressive. 

Male elk grow more hostile towards one another during the rutting season in an effort to establish leadership and win over a partner. Elk frequently lock antlers with one another and battle for control of harems and territory during the rut.

Bull Elk bugling for does.
Elk frequently lock antlers with one another and battle for control of harems and territory.

Wesley Aston/Shutterstock.com

Get Out of the Way!

In Colorado, where elk rutting season was in full effect, one enthusiastic photographer approached the elk too closely. In the video linked below, filmed by Megan Foster, a bull elk with enormous antlers is seen approaching a group of photographers before pivoting and assaulting one of them who is recording the elk. Foster revealed to a news organization that the man had been yelling at the creature to elicit a response.

Megan says, “We were trying to get away from him because we knew he was going to make one of them mad enough to hurt someone.” She went on to say that there were several other male elk not shown on camera. The one that did the attacking to the photographer was already stressed out from protecting his herd from the other males, making him have a more agitated baseline.

The fall rut, or mating season, is a well-liked time for tourists to watch wildlife because many animals enjoy being at lower elevations during this time, as per Rocky Mountain National Park. The National Park Service advises people to discover and take photographs from a distance that is comfortable for the elk in order to reduce any disruption to the animals.

Thankfully, the man in the video is alright, as the elk barely grazed his back. This is a reminder that wild animals are just that – wild. Keep your distance and respect at all times and they’ll do the same. Take a look at the footage below. 

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