Sometimes you just can’t fix stupid. And once again, leave it to a tourist that’s around wildlife to fit that bill. This time, said tourist was pushing his luck when filming a 1,000-pound bull elk, but he escaped unscathed even after ignoring the animal’s warning signs.
In a clip shared to Air.TV, a tourist in a yellow and white striped shirt is seen recording his close encounter with a bull elk. The man stands still with his phone raised as the elk mews, likely because it feels threatened. While the huge animal calls out, the tourist continues to record. He doesn’t back up or take heed of the warning in any form.
Luckily the enormous bull starts to walk off, but you can see it keeping an eye on the tourist who’s standing just feet away. Next, you can hear the person filming the clip in the background of the tourist’s encounter speak up. From a safer distance, he tells the tourist, “You better get back.” Things get a little more serious when the elk rubs its antlers on the ground as it warns the tourist once again.
“He’s warning you to get back,” the man says to the tourist.
The elk scratches at the ground with its hooves and continues to rub his antlers across the ground. However, the video cuts out before we find out if the tourist ever wisened up and moved away from the creature.
How to Stay Safe Around Elk If You Encounter Them
It should come as no surprise that the tourist mentioned above basically handled his encounter the exact opposite of how he should have. Elk might be docile by nature, but when threatened their behavior can turn aggressive.
Most signs of aggression stem from males who are attempting to show their dominance over other bulls within their communities. Yet females can get aggressive as well if they have a calf and feel threatened. As always, your best bet is to keep a safe distance from any wild animal you encounter. But the National Park Service has shared tips on their official website about “How to Stay Safe” around elk.
If the animals feel threatened, it says they “may try to kick you or chase you off.” The NPS suggests that “people stay at least 100 feet or about two bus lengths (30 meters) from all elk.” The agency also shared that elk show anxiety by “grinding their teeth or sending their ears back.” They also warn people that if you see an elk calf, the mother is likely nearby since they rarely abandon their offspring.
If you do encounter an aggressive elk and it approaches you, the NPS says to slowly back away from it. Additionally, the agency reminds everyone that it’s illegal in national parks to approach or feed wildlife such as elk.
“Approaching wildlife may cause stress to them and interfere with their ability to survive in the wild,” the NPS says. “Watching wildlife from a distance not only protects them—it also protects you and helps ‘keep wildlife wild.'”