Close call for tourists who approach group of elk in Yellowstone


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Photos courtesy Darin Skidmore

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS — Some tourists are lucky they weren’t injured after getting extremely close to a group of elk in Yellowstone National Park Saturday evening.

Darin Skidmore, an Idaho Falls resident, was in the park around 5 p.m. and noticed the three bull elk resting on the church house lawn at Mammoth Hot Springs.

“A group of people walked literally within five feet of (one of them),” Skidmore posted on his Facebook page. “He stood up and lowered his antlers. The people hurried behind a nearby car. They were very lucky.”

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In a message to, Skidmore says he watched from 80 yards away as the tourists approached what he believes was the six point “herd bull.”

“The people were foreigners – probably not knowing the bull elk are in the rut, which makes them very aggressive,” Skidmore says. “There were no cows – just three bulls. I couldn’t believe these people walked so close. I thought I was going to film an injury.”

Skidmore says he went to his car stereo and began to play bugles and cow calls.

“He wasn’t bugling until I started and got him talking up a storm,” Skidmore recalls. “Then he bugled for a good half hour.”

Skidmore says there was a herd of cows about two hundred yards away in the sagebrush from where the bulls were resting.

Fortunately nobody was injured but the incident serves as a reminder to never get too close to wild animals.

Yellowstone National Park tells visitors to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards away from all other animals, including bison and elk. Tourists have been seriously injured by disobeying the recommendations.

“Never approach wildlife. They make look docile but they are wild and unpredictable,” Skidmore says.


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