A man had to be escorted away at Yellowstone National Park recently after deciding to use an elk call to taunt a rutting bull. The incident was shared online by keen explorer next.trekking.adventure as an example of how not to act around wild animals, particularly during the mating season.
In the video, which you can watch below, the man approaches a pair of bulls and uses an elk call designed to attract the animals for hunting. Approaching and distracting wildlife in a National Park is illegal, and the man was lucky to be escorted away unharmed after taunting a rutting male. The people behind the Instagram account reported the incident to the NPS, and advise anyone who witnesses anything similar to do the same.
Elk are at their most spectacular during the rut as males posture, showing off their magnificent antlers and bugling as they compete for the right to mate. However, they are also at their most dangerous. Attacks on people are rare, but bulls are particularly unpredictable and prone to aggression at this time of year. Earlier this week, one was spotted charging cars and pedestrians at Estes Park, Colorado, and another rammed a vehicle that stopped too close to his harem.
The NPS reminds everyone visiting Yellowstone National Park to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from elk at all times, and to remember that that the safest place to watch these spectacular animals is from a vehicle. Even if an animal seems calm, it can soon become aggressive if it feels threatened.
“If an elk charges, get away!” the NPS warns. “Retreat to shelter in a building or vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier as quickly as possible.”
For more advice, take a look at our guides how to enjoy elk rutting season safely and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters. You might also like to check out our advice from a professional wildlife photographer, which will help you take better pictures during your trip.