Spring is calving season for Cow Elk and fall is when rutting season starts and the Bull Elk can be aggressive. A few days ago, on June 8 a Banff man was kicked in the head by a Cow Elk. (see full story in the Rocky Mountain Outlook).
In this instance, it was a case of a new mother protecting her calf. The newborn will hide in the brush while the Cow watches over and if a person inadvertently comes in between them she may attack. The hooves of these large ungulates are very sharp and can injure a person easily.
Cow Elk charges Man
This interaction is not unusual as the close proximity of Elk and People will eventually cause an interaction which in many cases is purely coincidental. There have been cases of people attacked while walking to work, running on the path systems in the forest or just walking down the street.
In the Fall during the Rut (mating season) the Bulls can become very aggressive and may attack. They will use their hooves and their antlers to attack you if you are too close to them.
Bull Elk chases Man
Many people just think they are tame and will react like animals in petting zoo. This is not the case. These are Wildlife and are not tame.
Please be aware of these large and potentially dangerous animals and please keep your distance. It is great if you can get a picture but is that picture worth being injured or worse.
Young male Elk vs Photographer
Many animals are injured or put down after encounters and that Humans are responsible for 50% of wildlife attacks (read article here from the RM Outook). Please be responsible and stay away from Elk.
For more information on how be safe around wild Elk please visit WildSmart at http://www.wildsmart.ca/elksmart.htmhttp://www.wildsmart.ca/elksmart.htm