Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Third elk attack in days reported in Colorado town, officials say

A bull elk bugling on a fall morning in Colorado. (Kerry Hargrove/Dreamstime/TNS)  (Kerry Hargrove/Dreamstime/TNS)
By Don Sweeney Charlotte Observer

An elk kicked and stomped a woman walking her dog in the third such attack in recent days in the same community, Colorado officials reported.

A woman walking her dog on a leash in Estes Park startled a cow elk about 20 yards away on Friday morning of Friday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a news release.

The woman tried to hide behind a tree but the elk knocked her down, kicked and stomped her, officials said. The elk’s calf was spotted nearby.

The woman sought medical treatment, officials said.

It’s the third such incident in Estes Park in the past 10 days, according to the agency, which called the series of attacks “unprecedented.”

On May 30, a cow elk protecting a calf charged and stomped on an 8-year-old girl riding a bicycle nearby, McClatchy News reported.

On June 3, a cow elk protecting a calf stomped on a 4-year-old boy playing at a playground, McClatchy News reported.

Both children were treated at a hospital and released. Wildlife officials said there is “no clear evidence to suggest these attacks were from the same animal.”

Cow elk can become aggressive if they believe their immobile newborn calves are threatened, officials said. Late spring through early summer is considered calving season for elk.

“People are encouraged to be aware while recreating outdoors that calves could be hidden nearby,” officials said. “Cow elk can charge from many yards away.”

Estes Park is about a 65-mile drive northwest from Denver.

What to know about elk

Elk are huge animals that are part of the deer family. A bull elk can weigh up to 700 pounds, according to the National Park Service.

During elk mating season, also known as “the rut,” bulls can become aggressive as they compete for female elk attention. If an elk feels threatened by a person, it could try to kick or chase them, officials said.

“When alarmed, elk raise their heads high, open their eyes wide, move stiffly and rotate their ears to listen,” the National Park Service said.

Here’s how park officials say you can stay safe:

–Stay at least 100 feet away from elk at all times.

–If you come into an area with an aggressive elk, back away slowly.

–Leave baby elk alone.

–Don’t approach or feed elk.