“During the autumn rut, bull elk become very unpredictable and easily agitated. This video demonstrates why it is not wise to stop too close to elk even if you stay in your vehicle.“
We’re in the heat of elk rut at this point in the year. That means it’s mating season for the large animals. The bull’s bugle and try to display their dominance and strength, while the cows determine who they wish to have a calf with. This means large harems may gather where elk are known to be, and those harems are usually led by a quite aggressive bull.
Plenty of people travel to Yellowstone, Estes Park, and other locations specifically to catch a look at the animals. Plenty of those people act like full blown idiots while doing so. If you need a reminder as to what being an idiot during elk rut looks like, and what the consequences might be, here’s a great clip:
So what went wrong in this footage? First of all, the distance was likely a bit of a problem. Always keep 75 feet between you and all wildlife while out in nature (moose and bears should be given closer to 100 feet, for your own safety). Even if you’re still in your car, those antlers are sharp and can do some pretty costly damage to your vehicle or yourself. Distance people, distance.
Second of all, the people in this video are clearly harassing these animals. NEVER, AND I MEAN NEVER, FAKE BUGLE TO A RUTTING BULL ELK. Don’t do it to any elk, anyways. The clapping and laughing heard from the car makes these tourists’ intentions quite clear. They wanted the elk to charge, they wanted to anger him. That’s called harassment, and it’s illegal (yes, even when you’re doing it to elk).
Image Credit: Yellowstone National Park via YouTube