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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photographer Vs. Elk... (kinda scary, kinda cute)
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Showing posts 26 - 50 of 113, (reverse)
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11/15/2013 12:47:24 AM · #26
I have to think the elk was being baited because the photographer had a white reflector placed just off the road. It can be seen at the 3 minute mark. The reflector was not 50 feet from the photog which makes me think he was baiting it and had no care about any of the rules of the park.
11/15/2013 01:01:30 AM · #27
Originally posted by Enlightened:

I have to think the elk was being baited because the photographer had a white reflector placed just off the road. It can be seen at the 3 minute mark. The reflector was not 50 feet from the photog which makes me think he was baiting it and had no care about any of the rules of the park.


It could be a reflector, but looks like just a sign to me. Maybe a sign saying to stay away from the elk, heh.
11/15/2013 01:08:52 AM · #28
While we do not see what happened beforehand, this was no "sudden" situation. It is quite clear from the video that the guy had ample time and opportunity to avoid this encounter. The onlookers are just as irresponsible by allowing it to happen, instead of trying to prevent it by honking or approaching in their vehicle, as the white one finally did.

Sadly, it is always the animals that pay for it, usually with their lives, when they injure the humans who put themselves in their way.
11/15/2013 01:11:05 AM · #29
So, I'm watching the video...I don't see it as cute at all. The photographer is clearly an idiot with no idea of the danger he's in. And he keeps putting his head down (to protect his face) but the elk sees that body language in a different way, as in invitation. I only kept watching in fascination at the precision & finesse in the way the elk used his spikes. I think, if he got the notion, he could put out the photographer's eyes one at a time.
11/15/2013 02:16:48 AM · #30
Originally posted by pixelpig:

So, I'm watching the video...I don't see it as cute at all. The photographer is clearly an idiot with no idea of the danger he's in. And he keeps putting his head down (to protect his face) but the elk sees that body language in a different way, as in invitation. I only kept watching in fascination at the precision & finesse in the way the elk used his spikes. I think, if he got the notion, he could put out the photographer's eyes one at a time.


It was the Elk that was 'cute' and 'scary'. It clearly wasn't trying to harm him, but had EVERY ability to do so.

As for the photographer, meh. People need to lighten up some. Not natural? I disagree, in that ANYTHING an animal does is 'natural', unless it is affected by a condition like rabies anyway...

As for the killing of a single elk, given that it injured a human during an interaction like this - might I remind you that in 2012 there were 22,008 Bull Elk killed, 19,192 Cow Elk killed, and 2,290 Elk Calves killed - for a grand total of 43,490 harvested Elk in Colorado. Pretty sure one more isn't really going to have ANY sort of devastating impact.

In effect, I think anyone who really considers this a big deal is reacting more emotionally, and less rationally.

11/15/2013 03:53:55 AM · #31
Originally posted by Cory:

In effect, I think anyone who really considers this a big deal is reacting more emotionally, and less rationally.

Oh boy...
11/15/2013 04:29:02 AM · #32
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

In effect, I think anyone who really considers this a big deal is reacting more emotionally, and less rationally.

Oh boy...


I know... That'll almost certainly annoy a few folks, but that too will largely be an emotive response, so I'm not terribly worried about it... ;)

In the end, one could quite easily go so far as to argue that allowing the ones without strong instinctive fear to live is actually harming the species, and selective culling of the less fearful is actually helpful to the overall genetic health of the species.
11/15/2013 05:31:00 AM · #33
The video is from Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Comparisons to Colorado's huge elk (wapiti) population is not relevant.

Elk Progress Report, July 2012. The current elk population in western North Carolina is believed to be approximately 140 animals, counting those elk both inside and outside of national park boundaries. GSMNP is trying to protect and restore a natural population in the face of all the human factors which caused the elk to disappear in the first place. I think one animal does matter in their situation. Am I emotional about that? Yes!

Someone taught that spike he could get food from humans. Now he's desensitized to the dangers represented by humans. He looks "not wild". The photographer chose a less than great subject and used very poor wildlife photographer techniques. It's a sad situation.

Message edited by author 2013-11-15 05:32:00.
11/15/2013 09:39:58 AM · #34
Originally posted by hahn23:

The video is from Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Comparisons to Colorado's huge elk (wapiti) population is not relevant.

Elk Progress Report, July 2012. The current elk population in western North Carolina is believed to be approximately 140 animals, counting those elk both inside and outside of national park boundaries. GSMNP is trying to protect and restore a natural population in the face of all the human factors which caused the elk to disappear in the first place. I think one animal does matter in their situation. Am I emotional about that? Yes!

Someone taught that spike he could get food from humans. Now he's desensitized to the dangers represented by humans. He looks "not wild". The photographer chose a less than great subject and used very poor wildlife photographer techniques. It's a sad situation.

That isn't exactly the type of animal that is scared of a lot.......the fact that he's not intimidated by something half his size with no useful antlers doesn't necessarily mean he's "desensitized".

Though it's a problem that has been created by the fact that we have stolen their habitat, elk here in Pennsylvania do crop damage to the extent that there has been a controlled elk hunt every year for over a decade. There are protected areas, and the elk are monitored so that they are not in imminent danger of extinction.

The Eastern states are rife with wildlife problems due to space & population concerns. Last year my home state of Pennsylvania led the nation in deer/auto collisions with 115,571 for the time period 6/2011 to 6/2012.

It's screwed up, but the fact of the matter remains that wildlife and humans are inextricably intertwined, and we have to deal with it as best we can.

We've killed off most of deer, elk and others' natural predators, and messed up the habitats such that we will continue to have to glean population to try to keep the damage down.

One animal, Richard? Seriously???
11/15/2013 09:47:19 AM · #35
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

We've killed off most of deer, elk and others' natural predators, and messed up the habitats such that we will continue to have to glean population to try to keep the damage down.

One animal, Richard? Seriously???

Jeb, it's a NATIONAL PARK. They are trying to rescue the species there. So Richard's position is not out of proportion at all.
11/15/2013 10:15:49 AM · #36
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

...
That isn't exactly the type of animal that is scared of a lot.......the fact that he's not intimidated by something half his size with no useful antlers doesn't necessarily mean he's "desensitized"….


In Rocky Mountain National Park, where we have many thousands of elk (wapiti), I have never seen the behavior displayed by the spike in the video. One cannot get close or touch an elk (wapiti) here because they are wild and flee humans. The national park is careful to enforce the "no feeding" and "no approach" rules. The wapiti do not associate people with food. Sometimes you can get within 50 yards of a wapiti herd, as they graze the glacial valleys. The wapiti NEVER approach humans. As I mentioned earlier, the only danger from a wapiti cow is when a human is in the territory of a newborn calf in early June. And then, the mode of "killing" action is from the sharp edges of front hooves flailing the intruder.

With reference to the photographer, that idiot's role in life is to serve as a bad example, so the rest of society can understand what not to do.
11/15/2013 10:35:16 AM · #37
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... While this looks cute, it could be interpreted by game control officers as deviant behavior. The animal would be put down.


I have no idea how to deal with Elk, or what Elk do. I might have researched the information if I was going to get close to them, but if you feel you are at a safe distance, and don't know what to do, you have to react as naturally as you deem right. I have learned something here, but I do feel you have taken a little too much offence to what is an innocent mistake by the photographer.

The people watching should have gone to his aid straight away, and I personally would have probably stood up much sooner than him, but he did what he did. And you don't know the whole situation. It's an incredible thing to watch, but there is no need to give us all a lecture on the rules on interacting with Elk in North America.
11/15/2013 11:00:34 AM · #38
Originally posted by MGRPhotos:

….there is no need to give us all a lecture on the rules on interacting with Elk in North America.


I felt it important to speak out on this video.
1. The photographer's behavior of sitting on the ground and allowing the spike to head butt him is not something anyone should emulate.
2. Next time the wapiti spike tries this again, he may be much larger and do serious physical harm to an unsuspecting human.
3. It's clear to me that SOMEONE baited the animal at some point. A park ranger may have to shoot the animal the next time it accosts a human in search of food.
4. Had the photographer tried the close encounter with a moose, grizzly, mountain lion or wolf, he'd be dead.
5. It should be noted the video went viral because someone filmed the potential goring event, rather than interrupt the illegal behavior. Nothing innocent about that.

11/15/2013 11:01:14 AM · #39
I blame 'The Horse Whisperer' for all this human-wild animal interaction.

You know, that feeling when a wild animal looks at you a certain way, and you instinctively know you can walk up to them, speaking soothingly, and rub their nose.
11/15/2013 11:05:08 AM · #40
Originally posted by JH:

I blame 'The Horse Whisperer' for all this human-wild animal interaction.

You know, that feeling when a wild animal looks at you a certain way, and you instinctively know you can walk up to them, speaking soothingly, and rub their nose.


Well said! I recommend watching the movie, Grizzly Man.
11/15/2013 11:45:34 AM · #41
Cory, even if we are reacting "emotionally", it is also true that humans are increasingly encroaching on the natural habitat of many species. It is not unreasonable or emotional to expect that rules in national parks - which are the homes of these animals - should favor those animals. Parks are an attempt to preserve nature in its "natural" state, as well as protect them from idiots like us who want to get "close to nature". Whether or not this man baited, approached, provoked, etc is irrelevant. If the elk was originally close enough to approach him, he should not have sat down. If the elk was farther away and started approaching, the man should have gotten up and retreated to his vehicle, which interestingly, was nowhere to be seen in the video. This elk did not suddenly materialize 5 feet from him.

This discussion is not the number of elk that might have ended up euthanized as a result of this encounter (which is likewise irrelevant), but rather the man's behavior. He displayed poor judgment, and a disregard for rules posted for his own protection. Now he is a hero to many uninformed people who may be inspired to try this themselves.
11/15/2013 11:53:27 AM · #42
Originally posted by tanguera:

Cory, even if we are reacting "emotionally", it is also true that humans are increasingly encroaching on the natural habitat of many species. It is not unreasonable or emotional to expect that rules in national parks - which are the homes of these animals - should favor those animals. Parks are an attempt to preserve nature in its "natural" state, as well as protect them from idiots like us who want to get "close to nature". Whether or not this man baited, approached, provoked, etc is irrelevant. If the elk was originally close enough to approach him, he should not have sat down. If the elk was farther away and started approaching, the man should have gotten up and retreated to his vehicle, which interestingly, was nowhere to be seen in the video. This elk did not suddenly materialize 5 feet from him.

This discussion is not the number of elk that might have ended up euthanized as a result of this encounter (which is likewise irrelevant), but rather the man's behavior. He displayed poor judgment, and a disregard for rules posted for his own protection. Now he is a hero to many uninformed people who may be inspired to try this themselves.


The rules say that you aren't supposed to approach the elk. For him to violate the rules as written, he would have had to move under his own power toward the elk. That did not happen. They don't say anything about the elk approaching you. That's probably based on the assumption by the rule makers that the elk should be naturally fearful and approaching humans would not happen. Clearly this animal lacks that fear

Originally posted by Park 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 elk—remain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.


The page goes on to suggest that elk can be dangerous etc., and warns (but does not require) that for your own safety that you should keep your distance.

Message edited by author 2013-11-15 12:01:06.
11/15/2013 12:17:38 PM · #43
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by JH:

I blame 'The Horse Whisperer' for all this human-wild animal interaction.

You know, that feeling when a wild animal looks at you a certain way, and you instinctively know you can walk up to them, speaking soothingly, and rub their nose.


Well said! I recommend watching the movie, Grizzly Man.

Reminds me of the time I 'rescued' a feral kitten who'd been cornered by a dog.

Just before I tried to pick him up, he looked up at me with his big wide eyes, and we shared a moment of trust and understanding.

It's amazing how much damage kitten claws can do to human skin.
11/15/2013 12:32:14 PM · #44
Originally posted by hahn23:

The video is from Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Comparisons to Colorado's huge elk (wapiti) population is not relevant.

Elk Progress Report, July 2012. The current elk population in western North Carolina is believed to be approximately 140 animals, counting those elk both inside and outside of national park boundaries. GSMNP is trying to protect and restore a natural population in the face of all the human factors which caused the elk to disappear in the first place. I think one animal does matter in their situation. Am I emotional about that? Yes!

Someone taught that spike he could get food from humans. Now he's desensitized to the dangers represented by humans. He looks "not wild". The photographer chose a less than great subject and used very poor wildlife photographer techniques. It's a sad situation.


That does change my stance somewhat, as in that location it's similar to an endangered species.

With that being said - I always have to question the wisdom of reintroducing an animal, as more often than not the pressures that originally drove them to local extinction are almost certainly now increased, rather than decreased.

11/15/2013 12:49:37 PM · #45
Originally posted by Cory:

With that being said - I always have to question the wisdom of reintroducing an animal, as more often than not the pressures that originally drove them to local extinction are almost certainly now increased, rather than decreased.

They got hunted to local extinction to feed the mountain folk, long ago. Like 1700... Hunting's not allowed in the National Park, except for the purpose of culling herds. So, in this case, the pressure is reduced.

Message edited by author 2013-11-15 12:51:42.
11/15/2013 01:00:27 PM · #46
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

With that being said - I always have to question the wisdom of reintroducing an animal, as more often than not the pressures that originally drove them to local extinction are almost certainly now increased, rather than decreased.

They got hunted to local extinction to feed the mountain folk, long ago. Like 1700... Hunting's not allowed in the National Park, except for the purpose of culling herds. So, in this case, the pressure is reduced.


THAT pressure is reduced. I don't particularly think 'pressure' in general has been reduced.

Besides, as Richard pointed out - hunting is legal in National Parks, you just have to be a Ranger. ;)

Message edited by author 2013-11-15 13:01:00.
11/15/2013 01:07:51 PM · #47
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

With that being said - I always have to question the wisdom of reintroducing an animal, as more often than not the pressures that originally drove them to local extinction are almost certainly now increased, rather than decreased.

They got hunted to local extinction to feed the mountain folk, long ago. Like 1700... Hunting's not allowed in the National Park, except for the purpose of culling herds. So, in this case, the pressure is reduced.


THAT pressure is reduced. I don't particularly think 'pressure' in general has been reduced.

Besides, as Richard pointed out - hunting is legal in National Parks, you just have to be a Ranger. ;)

Lawdy, you're a hard-head, Cory :-) Go taunt an elk or something...
11/15/2013 01:11:18 PM · #48
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

With that being said - I always have to question the wisdom of reintroducing an animal, as more often than not the pressures that originally drove them to local extinction are almost certainly now increased, rather than decreased.

They got hunted to local extinction to feed the mountain folk, long ago. Like 1700... Hunting's not allowed in the National Park, except for the purpose of culling herds. So, in this case, the pressure is reduced.


THAT pressure is reduced. I don't particularly think 'pressure' in general has been reduced.

Besides, as Richard pointed out - hunting is legal in National Parks, you just have to be a Ranger. ;)

Lawdy, you're a hard-head, Cory :-) Go taunt an elk or something...


I'm afraid that I'm restricted to teasing antelope down here. ;)

(In truth, most people don't realize it, but SW NM is fricken LOADED with Elk.)
11/15/2013 01:43:21 PM · #49
@ Spork - I'm amused that you are defending the stated rules so literally. This kind of "it doesn't say" mentality is one of the reasons that we have to put absurdly obvious warnings such as "caution: contents are extremely hot and you might burn yourself" on cups of coffee. Common sense is apparently also facing extinction.
11/15/2013 01:56:07 PM · #50
As a wildlife photographer, and a person who is madly in love and fascinated by wildlife, I completely understand the photographer staying in the position while the elk approached him. How many times have we stayed for hours, motionless, while the wildlife moves around us. How exciting it is when they ignore us and go about their business -- getting closer -- and we get the national geographic type shots.

How much more exciting when they're actually curious about us and are checking us out. It's not always about food and being baited. There is the occasional "this is not a threat, it's not moving, I can handle it", and it's such an adrenalin rush. I'm afraid that I would have stayed completely still and been extremely thrilled and excited if I were approached. Scared stiff, but thrilled to my toes. You don't know what's going to happen. And many times you can't anticipate what will happen if you move vs if you stay still. You're mind may be telling you what you should do -- but the pure thrill of the experience can get a little overwhelming.

However, what I find incredibly stupid is that he was obviously aware of the animals reactions to things. His head down in the beginning seemed an honest attempt to avoid eye contact and stay safe. After the initial head butting, it was obvious that he figured out the game. When he raised his head, the elk backed off. When he lowered his head, the head butting continued. Good wildlife photographers study habits and know reactions. The photographer was obviously having fun and playing -- that was the stupid part. He was taking idiotic chances with himself and with the animal.

So while I don't fault him for initially staying put -- I fault him for encouraging the behavior after the initial encounter.
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