Watch: Elk protecting calves turn aggressive, send tourists scattering

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EVERGREEN, Colo. (KDVR) — If you travel into Evergreen, a small mountain community in Colorado, there’s a high likelihood that you will spot some elk.

And with warmer temperatures comes elk calving season. There have been several reports of aggressive cow elk at Evergreen Lake, a hotspot for the animals as well as tourists.

While videos of people running from elk around the lake have surfaced, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the animals’ behavior is not unusual.

“Cow elk will be exhibiting normal protective behavior of their young. You need to give wildlife extra space this time of year and be sure to keep dogs on leashes,” said CPW.

Elk cows generally give birth during the first two weeks of June following a 245-day gestation period.

If you decide to take a stroll around the lake, there’s a chance you could come across an elk on your path. CPW said you should yield to the elk and keep a safe distance.

“If you see wildlife on a well-traveled path or trail, sometimes you need to avoid them, especially this time of year when deer, elk and moose will be protective of their newborns,” said CPW.

In 2020, a man was gored by an elk at Evergreen Golf Course, located next to Evergreen Lake.

CPW Officer Jason Clay says a good rule of thumb when you’re around elk is to use your thumb to gauge distance from the animals.

“You can either put your thumb up and if you can cover that animal’s whole body, then generally you’re a safe distance. If you put your hand up and look at the elk through a little circle in your hand and you can see that elk, generally you’re a safe distance,” Clay explained.

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