Yellowstone Asks Visitors To Check Their Vehicles for Elk

Yellowstone Asks Visitors To Check Their Vehicles for Elk Calves

Written by on June 18, 2021

While many people are aware and alert to avoid hitting elk in Yellowstone, park officials are keen to make sure nobody runs over or is run over by an elk.

Summer tourism continues to swell in Yellowstone National Park. With the park on track to reach record-high attendance, people and vehicles flood the park’s literal and figurative hot spots.

As always, the safety of visitors is of paramount importance to the National Park Service. Lately, the N.P.S. has been using social media to remind park visitors of the hazards associated with each national park site.

One of Yellowstone’s most important warnings is the appropriate distance between tourists and wildlife. While it’s often disregarded, visitors should stay 25 yards away from bison, elk, and other herbivores and at least 100 yards from grizzlies and wolves.

As calving season continues for Yellowstone elk, park officials ask visitors to look under and around their vehicles, as there might be an elk calf hunkered nearby.

The following warning was posted on the Yellowstone National Park Facebook page on Tuesday, June 15.

Be elk aware!

Speckled elk calves dot the landscape as elk calving continues throughout the park. In most of the park, elk calves are typically hidden under sagebrush or next to logs and boulders while the mother feeds or rests. In the developed areas, calves are often stashed near buildings, under porches and stairs, and in between vehicles. Check around corners and between cars before entering an area. 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.

Elk calf under vehicle

Courtesy Yellowstone National Park

This warning is particularly important in popular tourist spots like Mammoth Hot Springs.

Elk and humans frequently come into contact at Mammoth. This is especially true during the fall when male elk are rutting and tend to act and react more aggressively than normal.

But in spring and summer, it’s the female elk who often get aggressive. This is especially true if they perceive a threat to their calves.

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