In the battle of elk versus car, chalk one up for the elk.
One tourist at Yellowstone National Park found out the hard way that provoking an elk isn’t exactly the smartest idea, even when protected by a couple of thousand pounds of metal.
With the largest species of deer blocking the road, the driver approached slowly to try to make the animal move, asking “You wanna fight?” as they did so.
The elk slowly started stepping back, but the driver pulled up close for an uncomfortable staredown. But the elk stood its ground.
After believing they had won the war, the driver asked with a mocking tone, “Do you wanna go, bud?”
Spoiler alert: The elk did want to go.
The elk lowered its head for a charge, and its aim was perfect as its antler burst the driver’s tire, leading to a satisfying hissing noise as the rubber deflated.
“Well, there ya go,” said the defeated passenger.
The footage was uploaded to the TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account, and it’s clear whose side the comments section was on.
“Now he’s stuck in the middle of nowhere because he wanted to be a tough guy,” said one user, who punctuated the comment with a series of cry-laughing emojis.
“You should’ve just driven by him, but no, you wanna play games,” said another.
“He called your bluff ‘Bud’ he has to fight off Grizzly bears do you think he’s afraid of you???” added one elk fan.
While it’s pleasing to see an entitled tourist get a level of comeuppance for unnecessarily provoking wildlife, things should never have gotten that far.
Elk shouldn’t be spending time defending themselves against obnoxious individuals in cars, and the animal could have hurt itself in the process.
Meanwhile, the situation could have been much worse for the tourists, who were lucky a flat tire was the only outcome.
Visiting Yellowstone is a privilege that not everyone is lucky enough to experience. Those who get the chance should understand that and respect the wildlife accordingly.
If nothing else, hopefully this incident gave the driver a chance to reflect on the power these animals possess and the importance of giving these creatures the space they deserve and helping protect them from unnecessary human interaction.
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This article by Leo Collis was first published by The Cooldown on 7 November 2023. Lead Image: Photo Credit: @touronsofyellowstone / Instagram.