When deciding to take pictures of animals in the wild, one thing to keep in mind is that the animals can be dangerous.  They are, after all, wild animals.  A photographer who started this seemingly innocent photoshoot with a wild elk, should have remembered that when the elk decided to check things out a little more closely.

The standoff between the photographer and the elk happened in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The photographer had been snapping pictures of the wild elk, when the elk decided to get a closer look.  The curious elk starts off innocently by approaching the photographer and smelling his camera bag. But then the elk becomes more aggressive.  He lowers his antlers and starts to headbutt the photographer. Eventually the Park Ranger shows up to rescue the photographer before things got out of control.

The photographer in the video was asked why he continued to sit and let the elk headbutt him.  He said:

My first thoughts were “wow, he’s getting pretty damn close here.” But I’ve been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring.

I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off. That’s when I wagged my finger at him to cut that s*** out. I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.  At least he took me as a buck and not a cow!

I guess that is something he should be happy about!



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