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Be Careful During The Elk Rut

Butch points to the damage caused by the bull elk’s antlers after it attacked his car

Butch points to the damage caused by the bull elk’s antlers after it attacked his car

Elk are very watchable wildlife in Estes Park during the fall rutting season. Mature bulls form harems of cows and defend that harem from other bulls. It’s fascinating behavior to watch and includes sparring, fighting and bugling (which is the unique sound a bull makes during the breeding season).

On Monday morning, EPVFD personnel got a fire alarm call and when Firefighter Butch Lundstedt approached the fire station, he observed a herd of elk that had gathered near the parking lot. In addition to the elk, a large crowd of tourists and their vehicles had also gathered and as Butch drove into the fire department to get a truck to respond, a particularly ‘pumped up’ bull charged his car and rammed his antlers into the passenger side door of his new car. Also, when the fire trucks left the station with lights and sirens on, the elk began a kind of mini stampede. With the amount of extraneous vehicles and pedestrians in the area, it could have become a dangerous situation for people, vehicles and the elk.

This incident reminds us to please be careful around the bull elk this fall, they can be very unpredictable as they are more concerned with each other than they are with humans or automobiles.

Also, please be courteous and observant, if the elk have congregated near a public building like the fire house, be aware that firefighters may get an emergency call at any time and will need to get into and out of the fire station in a speedy manner. Please watch for emergency vehicles and give them the right of way in any emergency situation.

Have fun watching the elk, but please do so at a safe and respectable distance to the animals.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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