Why Do People Irritate Gigantic Elk During Rut In Yellowstone?
Elk are in the Rut during the fall and tourist need to be on high alert when visiting areas that have a high Elk population. During the rut, Elk can be unpredictable and become irritated very quickly.
Yellowstone National Park is home to 10,000 - 20,000 elk in 6 to 7 different herds and some of those elk will winter in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The years change and move by, but the elk and tourist act the same. The Elk are in full on mating mode and find the cars, trucks and people to be a threat to their cows. So in Bull Elk fashion, they begin defending their territory. They're already hopped up on hormones, now throw in irritation, frustration and anger, they're REALLY not thinking straight.
In this video taken by Paul Chalfant and posted on The Yellowstone National Park YouTube page, there are multiple instances where tourists and onlookers in vehicles are getting a little too close for the Bull Elks comfort. The Elk makes sure some of the parks visitors leave the park with quite the souvenir....a large dent and even broken lights.
The park recommends staying at least 25 yards away from large animals like Elk and Bison, but as you can see in the video, these elk can close the distance much quicker than you think. It's always a good idea to get far enough away that you can react and not injure the animal or damage property on park grounds or even worse, another person.
Be careful this time of year.