Thursday, November 14, 2013

Caught on Film: Young Bull Elk Spars with a Photographer in Cataloochee

A couple days ago some photos of a young bull elk sparring with a photographer in Cataloochee began making the rounds on the internet. Turns out this unbelievable event was also caught on film:

It's pretty amazing how calm and cool the photographer appears to be. It's even more amazing that he wasn't hurt!

In an email exchange, the videographer asked the photographer what was going through his head. This was his response:
"My first thoughts were "wow, he's getting pretty damn close here." But I've been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring. I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off. That's when I wagged my finger at him to cut that shit out. I was relieved to see the Ranger coming."
So the question that comes to mind: Why didn't anyone intervene? If you were there, would you've intervened to prevent this photographer from possibly becoming hurt?  

Hiking in the Smokies

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