This guy was asking for a fight. Literally.
A video posted to Facebook by Next Trekking Adventure on September 16 shows exactly what NOT to do when observing wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. The footage begins with a tourist in a sweater standing about 10 yards from a mature bull elk.
The man is standing even closer to an antlerless elk. He appears to be recording the scene on his phone. The bull looks warily at the man and can be seen bugling at him. Then the elk wanders away.
But it doesn’t end there. The video continues shortly away from where it begins. This time, instead of a phone, the tourist is wielding an elk call—and bugles directly at the bull elk.
According to Next Trekking Adventure, a video creator currently based in Yellowstone, the footage was captured in Grant Village, a popular area near Yellowstone Lake. “Harassing a bull elk during the rut is not the smartest thing to do, and it’s illegal,” writes Next Trekking Adventure in the caption. “If you see this type of behavior, please report it to rangers.”
During the elk rut, which is currently in full swing across the West, bulls vie for the right to breed cows. According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, bull elk bugle when they’re “warning other bulls to stay away or announcing [their] readiness to fight.”
While capable hunters use bugling to draw elk into archery range—it’s a downright stupid thing to do when you’re standing feet from a bull elk out in the open. In Yellowstone National Park, tourists are required to stay at least 25 yards away from elk. Bull elk are known to be aggressive and charge at people during the rut. In this case, the touron was fortunate the bull elk didn’t take his challenge to heart.