Park Service Asks Public Not To Drive Over Elk

The National Park Service is advising people to check under their cars for elk before driving off.

Jimmy Orr

June 16, 20212 min read

Elk under tire
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

While the thought of driving over a 700-pound elk may sound absurd, elk calves are at much higher risk because they are are significantly smaller and could end up beneath a car.

As a result, the National Park Service on Tuesday reminded people in areas frequented by elk to take caution and look around before putting their car into drive as a baby elk could be close by.

In fact, a photo the organization posted on Facebook shows an elk calf taking shelter beneath a vehicle right next to a tire, which could turn the animal into a burrito in matter of seconds.

“Check around corners and between cars before entering an area,” the Park Service advised. “In developed areas, calves are often stashed near buildings, under porches and stairs, and in between vehicles.”

Running over an elk would not be good, especially for the elk. But it could also be problematic for your car.

And then there’s the issue of the Mom elk — or cow elk as they are called. Cow elk do not like humans anywhere near their calves.

A 90-year-old man from Colorado found that out the hard way earlier in June as an elk plowed into him. Luckily the nonagenarian escaped injury despite going airborne.

“Give elk extra space as cow elk can be more aggressive this time of year and may kick or charge people and pets. If an elk charges you, take shelter in a vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier quickly,” the Park Service said.

Noted outdoorsman and Pinedale resident Paul Ulrich said he escaped a charging elk three years ago by jumping off a cliff into a lake in the North Absaroka Wilderness.

“It wasn’t a big dropoff but it really was my only option,” Ulrich said. “Briefly I thought I would test out my matador skills but in the last second I decided jumping was the best choice.”

Ulrich said he was considering going to matador school in Spain to avoid lakes in the future.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.