HomeOutdoorsNewsTouron’s mistake highlights immense size of bull elk in Estes Park

Touron’s mistake highlights immense size of bull elk in Estes Park

by Jon D. B.
Bull elk in Estes Park Colorado
A bull elk bugles to attract females and to intimidate other males at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. (Photo By JOEY MCLEISTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Another day, another touron, and this one highlights the true size of bull elk as someone lets their child approach the enormous ungulate.

You never know what’s going through someone else’s head. Some of us simply live in different realities. From person to person, our lived experiences are so vastly different that it becomes difficult to even guess what someone is thinking in a situation like this.

For “tourons” (see: tourist + moron, if you needed a refresher), reality is full of animals that live for humanity’s amusement. But this is a bull elk, an immense, majestic creature with 6-foot antlers sporting a dozen, spear-sharp points. And someone is letting their young child directly approach and corner him for a photograph.

Filmed last week in the town of Estes Park, Colorado, a gobsmacked onlooker captures the entire event on their phone. As the child stands around 4-feet away from this enormous bull, the elk’s antlers tower over her:

Typically, including public comments is a no-go with these type of videos. I hate to be catty, and we’re all hard enough on each other as it is. But this encounter is just wildly dangerous, and Tourons of Yellowstone‘s followers have me gut-laughing with their straight-to-the-point reactions.

“At least she’s being safe with a face mask,” replies angler David Johnston.

Indeed, the pair are observing wildlife outside in Estes Park with masks on. To give thought to this sort of safety, then completely disregard the danger of approaching wildlife of this size is… Something else.

“Whenever possible corner a wild, 600 lb beast that wears 14 daggers on its head. They LOVE it,” adds outdoorsman Howard Williams.

That about sums it up.

Bull Elk are enormous, approaching them is wildly dangerous

Elk are not only large and powerful, but remarkably fast, too. Spooking this cornered bull could result in a swing of the antlers – of which this child is in range of. That’s a goring.

Or, if the bull decides to protect himself, he could charge, trampling those in his path. Thankfully, neither happens to this child and her guardian, as it did when this bull elk gored and almost killed a golfer. No photo is worth such a risk.

Bull elk can stand almost 6-feet at the shoulder when fully grown. When they raise their head and immense racks, they are well over 8-feet-tall. Add their 700-1,000+ pound weight to this, and their simply not to be trifled with.

The only larger member of the deer family is the moose. And I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face:

Please never approach an elk or any wildlife. We love animals and they are marvelous, but admiring from afar avoids adding to the injuries and deaths that happen every year. It is also the preference of wildlife, and on top of everything we put them through, giving them space is the least we can do.

The majority of Americans will only ever see elk in national parks, and NPS’ steadfast rules on safe wildlife viewing are make the cornerstone of which I’ll always recommend to others. As Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) explains:

Use binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras with telephoto lenses to best enjoy wildlife. Feeding, touching, disturbing, and willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, are illegal in the park.