8 tips to avoid elk encounters

Bugling bull elk is a sign of the annual rut season.
Bugling bull elk is a sign of the annual rut season. Credit: Stan Powers.

The best way to survive an attack by an elk is to avoid creating one in the first place. When hiking, camping or spending any time outside in elk territory it is suggested that you follow these 9 tips:

  • if an elk approaches you, back off and look for a tree, fence or building to hide behind
  • if the animal charges, run to the nearest object you can get between yourself and the moose
  • be very cautious around female elk with calves, and bulls during the mating season (in the fall)
  • watch for any signs of animal activity such as tracks, print markings and scat
  • make noise as you travel through the woods — talk, sing, carry a radio (a common thing hikers will yell is “hey, bear!” over and over, but it doesn’t matter what you say so long as you make noise)
  • be extra careful during rut season (August, September and October) when bull elk are in rut season and are especially prone to attack if humans get too close
  • if you do hike alone, tell someone where you plan to go and what time you expect to return
  • keep dogs leashed so they don’t provoke attacks by wild animals (some experts suggest leaving the dog at home as some attacks by wild animals are actually attacks on the pet dog, not the human, because the dog is seen as a threat by the wild animal)

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