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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photographer Vs. Elk... (kinda scary, kinda cute)
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11/14/2013 10:28:02 AM · #1
Check this one out... kinda looks like terrifying fun. :)
11/14/2013 10:41:49 AM · #2
Opps! I just posted the same thing.
11/14/2013 10:46:07 AM · #3
It almost looked like the Elk was playing until the 180 turn. The photographer almost waited too long to seek shelter. I have seen 2 bulls fighting during the rut and it can get rough.
11/14/2013 10:46:43 AM · #4
Wow. I would have been scared.
11/14/2013 11:15:04 AM · #5
Definitely cute/scary. The bull was definitely more curious than anything, or it would have gotten ugly, fast.
11/14/2013 11:33:44 AM · #6
Bad human behavior. Normal elk behavior. That is a 2 or 3 year old male. We call them "spikes". The sparring with antlers is typical behavior seen between males, especially during the rutting season of Sept-Oct. The young spike was probably unable to find another bull elk he could dominate. Large bulls can have death matches as they battle for the breeding rights of their harems, with one or both gored. Our bull elk drop their antlers about March 15 each year. New antlers grow from scratch each year. The antler growth rate can approach 2" per day. This sparring behavior can be observed during all of the autumn & winter months. The largest bulls are 1000# and can have 7x7 or 8x8 racks.

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The photographer "interacting" with the spike is way out-of-line. The human should not have allowed the spike to spar with him. The human would have been fined $500 for approaching wildlife in RMNP. It was actually an act of attempted dominance by the animal. So, the animal learned he should not fear or steer clear of humans. As a matter of fact, it was probably an experience which will cause the spike to try this again. This isn't a petting zoo. In the West, they euthanize elk which approach humans in such a manner. While this looks cute, it could be interpreted by game control officers as deviant behavior. The animal would be put down.
11/14/2013 11:44:11 AM · #7
Originally posted by hahn23:

Bad human behavior. Normal elk behavior. . . .

The photographer "interacting" with the spike is way out-of-line. The human should not have allowed the spike to spar with him.


What would have happened had he stood up and run while the elk was focused on him? Would the elk have chased him and whooped his ass or would the elk have not done anything? I can imagine that's it's possible the photographer was at a safe distance and the elk ran up on him, not allowing the photographer time to get away. I wouldn't know what to do in that situation either. I probably would have balled up too.
11/14/2013 11:52:48 AM · #8
I got fairly close to some Stags recently (there were in total about 20 with the antlers) and I am now wondering if that was a really stupid thing to do. I noticed most other people were watching with binoculars from their cars. Probably thinking they were about to watch me get pronged

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11/14/2013 11:56:53 AM · #9
Originally posted by aliqui:

Originally posted by hahn23:

Bad human behavior. Normal elk behavior. . . .

The photographer "interacting" with the spike is way out-of-line. The human should not have allowed the spike to spar with him.


What would have happened had he stood up and run while the elk was focused on him? Would the elk have chased him and whooped his ass or would the elk have not done anything? I can imagine that's it's possible the photographer was at a safe distance and the elk ran up on him, not allowing the photographer time to get away. I wouldn't know what to do in that situation either. I probably would have balled up too.


Elk are grazing, herding animals. Totally herbivors. They are not predators. If the man had run, the elk would NOT have chased him down. Had it been a cow elk who had just dropped a calf, then a human in the vicinity of the newborn would be attacked. I've never seen a bull elk chase a human at any timeÖ and I get to see a lot of human/elk interaction.

I suspect the photographer was baiting the spike, maybe with sugar cubes, for example. Or, possibly someone fed this spike in the past. That baiting experience usually wrecks the future of a wild animal.

Fortunately, our wild animals in Colorado turn and run when they see tourists/photographers. That's why most tourist photos are posterior shots of animals running away up the mountain.

There is one animal which will attack a fleeing human. Mountain lions will chase down a fleeing prey. It's their feline nature. I coach people to stand firm and look "big" and yell a lot when encountering a large animal in Colorado. We don't have grizzlies here. We may have wolves this winter, as one has been sighted in the area. Then, my advice will change for those top of the food chain predators.
11/14/2013 12:02:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by hahn23:

I suspect the photographer was baiting the spike, maybe with sugar cubes, for example. Or, possibly someone fed this spike in the past. That baiting experience usually wrecks the future of a wild animal.


Here's what the photographer had to say:

Originally posted by elk photographer:

A North Carolina photographer dove headfirst, literally, into his assignment when he came face-to-face with an elk.

James York was photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tenn., when one of the elk on which he had his lens focused approached him.

"He came up peacefully enough," York said. "I was hoping he might just take a little sniff and move away but he didn't."
Instead, the elk began nuzzling York, sniffing at his leg and forcefully nudging his antlers into York's head, which York did his best to keep down.

"I'm thinking, 'Don't show him fear,'" York said. "He was prancing and digging his hoofs in the ground and then bouncing back and forth and lowering his horns down and coming at me fairly aggressive."

A fellow photographer, Vince Camiolo, captured York's nearly seven-minute encounter with the elk on his own video camera and posted it to YouTube.

"He has his head cocked to the side and his horns are down and his eye is locked right on me," York said of the encounter.

After about five minutes, York stands up and the elk backs away, only to continue staring down York in a sort of standoff. As the elk continues to approach and then back away from York, a white SUV slowly approaches and York eventually hops in, leaving his camera bag behind.

As the elk starts to bite into the camera bag, the SUV drives forward close enough to scare the elk away and York comes out of the car to retrieve his bag.
11/14/2013 01:04:43 PM · #11
Elk are tasty.
11/14/2013 01:18:41 PM · #12
Originally posted by Spork99:

Elk are tasty.


I do fear TSE and avoid consuming elk meat.

There are rules in the Great Smoky Mountains about approaching elk.
11/14/2013 03:23:38 PM · #13
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Spork99:

Elk are tasty.


I do fear TSE and avoid consuming elk meat.

There are rules in the Great Smoky Mountains about approaching elk.


As to TSE, your fears are irrational unless you're eating elk brains or spinal cords.

Have the elk been informed of the rules and the consequences?

Originally posted by The Rules:

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elkóremain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.


The guy was by the road, using a telephoto lens as advised by the rules. He didn't approach the elk, the elk approached him. The difference should be obvious.

Message edited by author 2013-11-14 15:28:12.
11/14/2013 03:31:11 PM · #14
Originally posted by Spork99:

Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Spork99:

Elk are tasty.


I do fear TSE and avoid consuming elk meat.

There are rules in the Great Smoky Mountains about approaching elk.


Have the elk been informed of the rules and the consequences?

In RMNP, we have gone from 8000 elk in 2006 to less than 2000 elk today. Part of the elk reduction was accomplished by erecting "elk exclosure fences" around key grazing areas where vegetation had been overgrazed. The rest of the elk reduction was accomplished by euthanizing the older cows. So, I'm not sure anyone took time to explain the rules to the elk (wapiti), but they absolutely suffered the consequences.
11/14/2013 03:36:43 PM · #15
Originally posted by Spork99:


Originally posted by The Rules:

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elkóremain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.


The guy was by the road, using a telephoto lens as advised by the rules. He didn't approach the elk, the elk approached him. The difference should be obvious.


I sincerely doubt the man's claim of innocence. Did you see the footage before the close encounter? Neither did I. Furthermore, he had ample opportunity to leave the close encounter situation. Probably had time and opportunity to avoid the situation altogether, as the elk approached. I sincerely doubt the little spike charged him. This is just really bad human behavior. And, why sit down on the ground and let the creature butt you in the head. He's lucky he didn't get poked by those spikes. I'll bet his head and neck hurt from the head butts.

Had I been there, I would have called the security rangers and recorded the photographer's license plate. If help was not immediately on the horizon, I would have loudly approached the spike to scare him back into the meadow and separate the idiot from the cervid.

Message edited by author 2013-11-14 15:53:44.
11/14/2013 03:54:32 PM · #16
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Spork99:


Originally posted by The Rules:

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elkóremain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.


The guy was by the road, using a telephoto lens as advised by the rules. He didn't approach the elk, the elk approached him. The difference should be obvious.


I sincerely doubt the man's claim of innocence. Did you see the footage before the close encounter? Neither did I. Furthermore, he had ample opportunity to leave the close encounter situation. Probably had time and opportunity to avoid the situation altogether, as the elk approached. I sincerely doubt the little spike charged him. This is just really bad human behavior. And, why sit down on the ground and let the creature butt you in the head. He's lucky he didn't get poked by those spikes. I'll bet his head and neck hurt from the head butts.


By all accounts he was doing what he was doing early in the video, sitting and taking photos. I've neither seen nor heard anything that says otherwise and there were plenty of witnesses to the encounter, none of which mentioned any illegal activity. Yet you're willing to speculate that he did something illegal based on absolutely nothing.

11/14/2013 04:00:11 PM · #17
I agree with Richard about the Elk probably having been baited at one time or another. I live right outside GSMNP and see tourists and photographers do it far too often. The guy should never have let the animal get that close. When he saw it approaching he should have walked away.

I had a similar thing happen with a bear. My dad was taking some landscape shots, I was about 200 ft. away doing the same when I saw a black bear come out of the woods and start walking slowly towards my dad. My first inclination was not to move closer to the bear, or let it get any closer to my dad. I wanted it to go away. Sadly, many tourists don't do the same, they think the bears are "cute". My car was down by my dad, so I set off the panic alarm...bear gone. People are too concerned about getting that great shot/awesome video and not about the welfare of the animals they are photographing. These fools are also making things more dangerous for the mindful visitors in the area and those of us who live here. We reported the incident to the park service. Bears approaching people is not a natural thing. Any of these wild animals approaching people isn't a natural thing.

Below is what happens when people feed the animals, they lose their fear.

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11/14/2013 04:02:28 PM · #18
Originally posted by Spork99:

By all accounts he was doing what he was doing early in the video, sitting and taking photos. I've neither seen nor heard anything that says otherwise and there were plenty of witnesses to the encounter, none of which mentioned any illegal activity. Yet you're willing to speculate that he did something illegal based on absolutely nothing.

It's illegal per se to be within 50 yards of elk (wapiti) in GSMNP. The park visitors are responsible for following the rules. A park ranger would have fined the photographer, even if he was standing on the road. Due to government sequestration, there have been major cutbacks to the numbers of security and interpretive rangers. In this case the resource is the wildlife. Everyone involved needs to act in a manner to protect the resource.
11/14/2013 07:41:30 PM · #19
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Spork99:

By all accounts he was doing what he was doing early in the video, sitting and taking photos. I've neither seen nor heard anything that says otherwise and there were plenty of witnesses to the encounter, none of which mentioned any illegal activity. Yet you're willing to speculate that he did something illegal based on absolutely nothing.

It's illegal per se to be within 50 yards of elk (wapiti) in GSMNP. The park visitors are responsible for following the rules. A park ranger would have fined the photographer, even if he was standing on the road. Due to government sequestration, there have been major cutbacks to the numbers of security and interpretive rangers. In this case the resource is the wildlife. Everyone involved needs to act in a manner to protect the resource.


That's the most stupid interpretation of a rule that I've ever heard, you should run for office. It's also not what the rule says. You should re-read the rules from the link you posted. Deer and elk do crazy things during the rut that they would never otherwise do. Run into cars, attack school children things like that. The fact is that you have NO idea what this guy was doing, but you're willing to place all blame on him because you evidently need to blame a person and it might as well be him.

You might be correct about this elk having been baited, but nothing says it was this guy or even anyone there that day, but it's his fault.

Message edited by author 2013-11-14 19:43:09.
11/14/2013 07:48:42 PM · #20
Originally posted by hahn23:


Had I been there, I would have called the security rangers and recorded the photographer's license plate. If help was not immediately on the horizon, I would have loudly approached the spike to scare him back into the meadow and separate the idiot from the cervid.


In your red cape and long underwear?
11/14/2013 07:57:49 PM · #21
IMHO he's a total idiot, he lets the elk whack him around and then gets up with out getting the NATGO World challenge shot! Plus seriously he can't be much a photographer, he left a tripod with a camera on it on the ground for the Elk to mall???? REALLY....
11/14/2013 09:19:44 PM · #22
Originally posted by littlemav:

IMHO he's a total idiot, he lets the elk whack him around and then gets up with out getting the NATGO World challenge shot! Plus seriously he can't be much a photographer, he left a tripod with a camera on it on the ground for the Elk to mall???? REALLY....

+10
That idiot's role in life is to serve as a bad example, so the rest of society can understand what not to do.
11/14/2013 09:54:50 PM · #23
I say the photographer was well within his rights considering he was in a Stand-Your-Ground state.

Message edited by author 2013-11-14 21:56:22.
11/14/2013 10:23:51 PM · #24
Originally posted by MarkB:

I say the photographer was well within his rights considering he was in a Stand-Your-Ground state.

Well, here's the sad reality. Had the idiot been injured due to his irresponsible behavior, the spike wapiti would have been euthanized. People should simply give the wildlife some room.
11/14/2013 10:57:25 PM · #25
It's interesting that the animal never used the tips of his antlers. It did appear he was looking for food...he looked in the bag to see if there was any mega bytes in there.

One thing I find interesting too is the woman in the car in the background. Why didn't she come to his aid? Pull the car up, like the white car? Not to mention his buddy who thought it might be cool to get a video of his friend being gored.

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