When wildlife officials warn visitors to stay away — very far away — from elk during rutting season, they really mean it.
And here’s why.
Last week, a bull elk charged a pickup truck causing serious damage to the vehicle in Jasper National Park.
“The damage shown here was made by a charging bull elk when a visitor stopped to take photos of the bull today,” Parks Canada explained in a social media post.
The photo op, it turned out, was just not worth it.
No one was hurt, according to parks.
“But this is a great reminder about the continuing elk rut and the need to give wildlife space,” officials added.
Parks Canada offers ways to avoid and handle elk encounters throughout the Rocky Mountains parks.
Keep at least 30 metres away and never get between males and females during the rut. And, definitely don’t put your vehicle between them. They may charge, as evidenced by what happened last week.
Elk rutting season started in August and still has a few more weeks of courting to go.
Remember, you are in danger if a bull elk appears agitated. If its antlers are lowered towards you, the animal is pawing the ground, thrashing bushes or charging.
“During rutting season, bull elk will attack anything that comes too close to them or their mates,” parks added.