Here’s Why Tourists Need to Leave Colorado Elk Alone
A man is lucky to be alive after a merciful Elk spared his life.
Rutting Season In Colorado
Rutting season AKA mating season for Elk is in full swing in October. According to VisitEstesPark rutting season usually occurs from mid-September til mid-October, but it is also not uncommon for the rutting season to continue into November.
Like any animal during mating season, Elk can become extremely aggressive and territorial.
If you're unfamiliar with Elk, males are typically called bulls, while females are referred to as cows.
Don't Mess with Colorado Wildlife
As incredible as it is to see Colorado wildlife, you should not attempt to come in close contact with them. The Rocky Mountain National Park Service recommends viewing wildlife from at least 75 feet away, which is equal to two bus lengths.
For wildlife such as black bears, moose, and mountain lions it is recommended to stay at least 120 feet away or approximately three bus lengths.
Here's an ethical viewing tip from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:
If the animals you are observing have their heads up, ears pointed toward you, or appear 'jumpy' or nervous when you move, you are probably too close! Sit or stand very quietly, without making eye contact, or move slowly away to a safer distance.
The man, along with others captured in this video apparently ignored all of the above rules and tips.
Here's What Happened at Estes Park According to Eye Witness
Megan Foster recorded the above video and stated to Storyful:
We were trying to get away from him, because we knew he was going to make one of them mad enough to hurt someone. What you don’t see in the video is six other bulls that [the bull elk] was also trying to keep away from his herd. He was very stressed; he was drooling and peeing everywhere, trying to mark his territory.
The noise emitting from the Bull Elk is referred to as a bugle and the National Park Service describes this as a way to, "communicate to other bulls that they are too close to his harem, and that he is willing and able to defend his cows."
The signs were all there, yet this tourist and others ignored them and almost fell victim to a provoked attack. The man was luckily uninjured.
Please, leave Colorado wildlife alone, for your safety and theirs.
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