If you're here to watch the rut, enjoy, but PLEASE take heed.
The annual elk rut is in full swing and the bull elk are busy bugling, gathering their harems of females and challenging one another for breeding rights.
The elk are amazing and wondrous animals that are fun to watch but remember, these are wild animals competing for dominance and the bulls are especially "pumped-up" at this time of year.
Avoid potential accident, injury or death by always viewing from a safe distance. If an animal is carefully watching you and appears "jumpy," you are way too close. Avoid eye contact and back away. Raise your arms to make yourself look larger. For photographers, a good rule of thumb is "give them room, use your zoom. Keep you dog leashed and quiet. Do not allow them to bark, lunge at or chase wildlife. Elk view your dog as a predator.
Never block traffic. "Elk jams" are a danger to everyone - blocking traffic creates all kinds of potentially dangerous situations. Be sure to pull completely off the roadway, out of the way of through traffic.
Never get between two bull elk. Situations can change very rapidly during the rut and you never want to be caught in between two rival animals or a bull and his harem.
Don't ignore the cows, they can still be dangerous, any time of year, not just during calving season.
Enjoy watching the rut but please remember - elk are wild animals. Be aware and be respectful. View quietly from a safe distance. Never attempt to touch or feed wildlife, it's dangerous and illegal. There's a reason it's called wildlife.