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Thu., Nov. 14, 2013, 9:14 a.m.

Elk teaches photographers a few points on safety

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Serious wildlife photographers are not amused by this latest viral video of a man who exposed himself to serious danger with a yearling "spike" elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One lunge and the man could have lost an eye or been killed. This is stupid, and the people who sat and watched are equally stupid.

The man made the initial error by getting too far from a vehicle and leaving himself exposed to the elk's advance.

The videographer who posted the video on YouTube apparently doesn't like the criticism going out on the internet and he/she deleted it from this post.

  • See the ABC news story with footage from the video plus an interview with the photographer, James York.

We already posted the news of the spike elk that Western Montana wildlife officials dispatched this fall after it became too aggressive around people who tried to treat it like a pet.  

Comments from professional wildlife photographers include:

This is the kind of idiot that prompts excessive and overbearing rules for photographers in national parks, wildlife refuges, etc.The guy could have easily stood up, waved his hat and yelled at the bull, but no, he had to play with it.  I'm sure he thought that such behavior was cute. What would not have been cute is when the bull lowered one of those antlers (or both) and impaled him through the chest... 

  • The guy is not a nature photographer; he is an idiot...
  • Sadly if the guy had gotten killed or even seriously injured, the bull would have been killed...
  • I seriously hope that the park where this took place look long and hard at prosecuting the guy in any way they can...  

--Tim Christie, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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