KBZK Bozeman MT News / YouTube
Yellowstone National Park rangers had their hands full last Friday dealing with visitors diving in cars and walking around the park trying to get a close-up of bull elk belting out their mating calls.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen – it’s elk mating season in the park, and as usual, most of the action from bull elk is witnessed in September. Specifically at the Mammoth Village area part of the park which is known for being a hot spot to see elk battles and watch then do their mating rituals.
Hundreds of people who were there on Friday received multiple warnings from rangers that they were getting a little too close to the giant forest creatures. Wildlife officials say elk can be very dangerous, especially during mating season, and now is not the time to try to get a close-up picture of them for your social media accounts.
The video footage you’re about to see below shows a riled-up elk walking around, scraping the ground with its hooves and antlers, and bugling loudly. Rangers say the males are letting the lady elk know they are interested in romance, as well as, warning the other males that they’re ready to do battle if they see them.
One elk was even reported to have trotted across the road towards a group of people in front of the visitor center. Rangers had to quickly direct the visitors to a safe spot behind the building before things got ugly.
After the danger passed, park visitor Roger Casas, who ran for cover told KBZK, “It’s really cool. It’s something I’ve never seen anywhere.” The news reporter then asked him if he was scared and he replied, “Kind of, I am actually. You know, um, it’s nice to be scared. It’s better to be scared. It’s safe to be scared at times like this, you know.”
At one point, rangers even had to put their patrol vehicle between a bull elk and a group of people in an attempt to keep them safe. The elk gored the SUV shattering the door handle and denting up the metal on the side of the vehicle.
Wildlife officials warn those visiting the park during September that it’s best to stay 100+ feet away from them and the safest place to view them is from the comfort of your own vehicle. Ranger Vanessa Vought warned that the mood of the bulls can change in an instant.
She said, “Ok, this animal’s bedded down right now but if it gets up, we need to think about where we can go to take cover.”