It’s officially rut season in Colorado, and across the state, bull elks are letting motorists and park visitors know to keep their distance during this crucial time for the population.
Of course, no matter what time of year it is, it’s never safe to get too close to elk (or any antlered/horned animal for that matter), but when the air cools and mating season heats up, males can become especially territorial if a visitor or car comes to close to it or its harem. In fact, the National Park Service even stated that the two most dangerous times of year to encounter an elk are spring (when cows are nursing their young) and fall (when rut begins).
In this case, a bull in Estes Park, Colorado asserted its dominance as it entered a busy roadway to herd the cows and calves across. The 12-point bull already crossed one lane of traffic and was debating which direction to go when a blue GMC Sierra tried to pass. Unfortunately for the motorist, the bull seemed to zero in on the truck, its humongous rack angled directly at the passenger door and window.
Take a look at this video from the driver behind the elk.
Luckily, for the truck driver, the elk only wanted to give a warning to the motorist and all others on the road not to come too close. As a result, no animals, people or vehicles came away from the incident with any injuries.
Wildlife Expert Says Bull Elks Will Be in ‘Fierce Mating Mode’ Until Mid-October
While the incident in Estes Park ended fairly mildly, Colorado wildlife experts say that motorists and park visitors should be on alert for bull elks until mid-October when rut ends.
“High on testosterone, antigens are exploding, they’re kind of blind and just in fierce mating mode,” explained one elk expert to FOX31.
For some, the temptation may be to get closer to the majestic creatures for a photo or even a pat, but for the sake of people and animals, the NPS urges folks to observe from at least 25 yards away.
“This is the best time of year to watch elk. It’s exciting. There’s a lot of biology going on, reproductive biology,” the unnamed wildlife life expert shared. “But the most important thing is your safety and also the safety of the elk. And that means don’t prompt, don’t facilitate.”
That means dealing with a traffic jam or two when a bull is guiding its herd across the road.
He added, “Learning to live with wildlife is a real struggle, but it’s real important if we want to coexist and maintain some of the diversity that we have in our world.”