Yellowstone Officials: It’s Elk Calving Season, Don’t Put One In Car

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Yellowstone National Park officials are reminding visitors that elk calving season will soon begin and to be aware of the animals while in the park.

As Cowboy State Daily has noted before, animals do not want to be hugged or be our friends (as disappointing as this might be). And being more than usually aware of that fact, the National Park Service is offering up a few helpful tips about how to be not quite as friendly with the park’s natural residents.

Cow elk are much more aggressive towards people during calving season, and may charge or kick. Visitors are advised to look around corners before exiting buildings or walking around blind spots, since cow elk may bed their calves near buildings and cars.

If a person sees an elk calf by itself, they should leave it alone. Really. Do not put the cuddly baby animal in your car because it looks cold. Because mama elk is probably nearby and will not be amused.

Selfies with animals are not recommended, and neither is sneaking up on animals.

People should stay at least 25 yards away from elk at all times. If an elk charges, find shelter in a vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier as quickly as possible.

Calving season runs from May to late June and calves usually weigh around 30 pounds at birth. Full grown bull elk are around 700 pounds and stand 5 feet high at the shoulder, while cow elk weigh around 500 pounds and are shorter.

There are usually around 10,000 to 20,000 elk in Yellowstone during the summer season. Elk are the most abundant large mammal found in the park.

This is an annual warning by the park, but as we have seen before, there is always some tourist that ignores the rules and attempts to pet an animal. It usually doesn’t end well.

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