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by SantaFeJoe on Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:27 pm
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Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGQExgOxZMQ

Joe
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Specializing in the fauna of Bosque del Apache NWR

by Karl Seddon on Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:48 pm
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I must admit I'm not familiar with Elk but I'm pretty confused by this Joe - Like watching a slow mo car wreck.
Young bull or not isn't the photographer in danger of being gored? If the bull proved to be so skittish around the five minute mark why didn't he just stand up and walk away long before he did? Did no-one think of driving up to the pair before the white car?
It makes you wonder if the majority of people would stop & help you out if you were in trouble or just stand there & film the spectacle?

My mother used to say its all fun and games until someone loses an eye :)

by Mike Ogle on Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:27 am
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This is why rangers can be such jerks when they have to deal with the public.

by STEVENMAJOR on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:30 am
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I think maybe the photographer had a snack (or the scent of one) in his backpack the elk wanted. Those horn tips, anywhere near my eyes, would have had me out of there quickly. As another poster suggested, it does appear the possibility of getting ones car scratched, trumped the concept of helping someone who could be getting gored.
O bla de o bla da.

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:55 am
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This could have proven deadly and not just dangerous. The spike elk have extremely sharp antlers and this one could have easily gored this guy if he wanted to. A photographer I befriended in Yellowstone approached a large bull elk during the rut (in Yellowstone) and the elk started to come at him. He stood his ground and actually moved aggressively towards the elk and yelled at it and the elk backed down. This spike also backed off when the photographer stood up, rather than remaining seated. I had to use my friends tactic on an overly aggressive forkhorn mule deer. I had a large paper bag in my hands and had to rush him and shake it at him to make noise several times before he finally backed off. Animals are unpredictable and I wouldn't tell anyone that this kind of technique would work for them, but I've used it and would use it again, rather than possibly get gored. Marty Stauffer's brother also used a similar tactic on a protective cow elk mother in Yellowstone in an episode of "Wild America" and it worked for him, too. This guy was very lucky not to have been badly injured, but I bet he used a lot of aspirin to get rid of the headache!
What's funny is to watch this guy popping off photos nonchalantly during the ordeal!!!
Here's a link to an interview with the photographer:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/t/video/elk-spars-north-carolina-photographer-caught-tape-20886206?

It's funny how he said at least the bull took him for another bull, rather than a cow.

Joe
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Specializing in the fauna of Bosque del Apache NWR

by Mark Picard on Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:38 pm
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What you're seeing here is typical Deer family behavior. This is a young Elk that hasn't reached breeding status yet. He looks like a 1 1/2 year old bull, judging by the size of his body and antlers. Typically, young, non-breed-able bulls will join together in small "bachelor" groups after the rut is over and practice spar in an attempt to learn how to fight for real once they're old enough to breed (around the age of three). There is very little real aggressiveness during these sparring matches compared to a real adult rutting fight. They're really just feeling each other out and learning the moves they'll need later on in life. You would not see this behavior from a breeding adult Elk - he would have been charging and goring for real! This young bull elk just wanted the competition to give some resistance back, and the guy did just that. 

I think that photographer was so intent on getting pictures that he was willing to take the consequences for his actions. Hey, he got on national TV with the story!  People have no idea how strong and fast these animals are, and he could have been seriously hurt.

by david fletcher on Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:55 pm
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Mark Picard wrote:
What you're seeing here is typical Deer family behavior. This is a young Elk that hasn't reached breeding status yet. He looks like a 1 1/2 year old bull, judging by the size of his body and antlers. Typically, young, non-breed-able bulls will join together in small "bachelor" groups after the rut is over and practice spar in an attempt to learn how to fight for real once they're old enough to breed (around the age of three). There is very little real aggressiveness during these sparring matches compared to a real adult rutting fight. They're really just feeling each other out and learning the moves they'll need later on in life. You would not see this behavior from a breeding adult Elk - he would have been charging and goring for real! This young bull elk just wanted the competition to give some resistance back, and the guy did just that. 

I think that photographer was so intent on getting pictures that he was willing to take the consequences for his actions. Hey, he got on national TV with the story!  People have no idea how strong and fast these animals are, and he could have been seriously hurt.


no truer words said.  Not limited to Deer either.  Young Elephants spar up and measure their strength so when adulthood arrives, they know their rivals strength.  

Not quite sure what the guy was looking to achieve though... eco warrior hood. etc.. or something just plain stupid, but as Marc says, things can take a turn for the worse in a blink.  The Red Deer ruts I often witness also demonstrate just how stupid the general public can be.  (or ignorant)..  (in fact you can rely on the public to be stupid every year)... Then it's the critters that pay!
Make your life spectacular!

by Andrew Kandel on Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:48 pm
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And photographers wonder why Park Rangers are so suspicious and antagonistic towards photographers.

by bradipock on Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:44 pm
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Stupid and avoidable, yes. Any different from being out in Alaska and letting grizzlies get within a few feet? No.

Not justifying, but he really didn't do anything wrong as the animal approached him. These elk are pretty used to people, doubt jumping up would have helped the situation any.

by sdaconsulting on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:24 am
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Those elk are amazing and beautiful creatures. I've been on that road many times but never had an elk approach that close though! They are quite fearless of people in the park.

I'm glad the photographer didn't get accidentally injured.
Matthew Cromer

by Scott Fairbairn on Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:47 pm
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bradipock wrote:
Stupid and avoidable, yes.  Any different from being out in Alaska and letting grizzlies get within a few feet?  No.

Not justifying, but he really didn't do anything wrong as the animal approached him.  These elk are pretty used to people, doubt jumping up would have helped the situation any.



It's a bit of , "much ado about nothing" IMO. I think he "knew" what he was doing. He was quite cavilier in the way he was photographing, using live view to capture images, holding the camera at arms length, etc. What concerns me is that when incidents like this get attention, there is a knee jerk reaction to institute new rules or regulations to prevent a recurrence because someone could be injured. The risk of litigation drives new rules and regulations, closure of wildlife areas, etc. I see this happening more and more. The parks are controlling where and when visitors can be all the time(businesses have been doing this for years in "guiding" customers to specific areas of a store when they enter). Whether it's trumped up fear of risks, fear of litigation, increased traffic,  or simply cutbacks to reduce operating costs, I see a pattern of decreasing access in many places I used to visit regularly. It's hard to fault park officials sometimes, I've seen people with cell phone cameras approach grizzlies with cubs, even walking between the cubs and mother. It's no wonder park rangers get angry with photographers since everyone with a camera gets lumped in to the same group.
We don't see what happened before this video, but to me he allowed himself to be put in that situation by not keeping a respectable distance. He didn't appear worried, more like he'd had enough. I'd be surprised if this was the first time he had done something like this, the average person would be pretty anxious IMO. 
It was only when he walked off that the Elk approached his gear…….... the game wasn't over, for the Elk!
BTW, when he did get up the Elk retreated…...

by E.J. Peiker on Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:18 pm
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That Elk was Euthenized today! :(
http://www.wbir.com/story/news/2013/11/15/elk-euthanized-after-close-up-encounter-with-photographer/3598353/

by SantaFeJoe on Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:18 pm
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Pretty sad when a person identified with photography causes something like that to happen! I blame him for allowing the situation to transpire.

Joe
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Specializing in the fauna of Bosque del Apache NWR

by bradipock on Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:42 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
Pretty sad when a person identified with photography causes something like that to happen! I blame him for allowing the situation to transpire.

Joe

Joe, That's a little harsh in my opinion to blame the photog.  The article clearly states that this elk  had previous run ins with humans and couldn't be retrained to fear them.  Quite frankly, I wouldn't think any of the elk up there are afraid of humans.  Sad to see this happen immediately after the video as the photog will get blamed, but it simply isn't his fault.

by SantaFeJoe on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:44 pm
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Part of the reason I blame him is because he allowed the elk to approach way closer than he should have. According to this:   http://www.wate.com/story/23985249/rangers-euthanize-elk-featured-in-viral-video    he should have been no closer than 50 yards. Even if he didn't approach the elk, he should have moved away as soon as he saw the elk approaching him. I have seen this behavior by photographers in Rocky Mountain NP and Yellowstone, amongst other places. It should not be done by anybody, photographer or not. Sure feeding animals contributes to this behavior on the part of the animal, but it is no justification for not moving back to a reasonable distance sooner.
This is at Rocky Mountain NP and taken with a 500mm lens:
Image




Joe
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Specializing in the fauna of Bosque del Apache NWR

by david fletcher on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:06 pm
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.... then it's the critters that pay!
Make your life spectacular!

by John Guastella on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:47 pm
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Quote:
no justification for not moving back to a reasonable distance sooner.


Agree 100%.

The responsiblity for this elk being put down is totally on the photographer and every other person who fed this animal or interacted with it in such a way that it became habituated to humans.

John

by Scott Fairbairn on Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:10 pm
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The video attention of him certainly resulted in the decision to kill the elk, although I think that's baloney about not being able to train the animal to be afraid of people. They chase off elk in Jasper with poles with coloured streamers, and rubber bullets. If that animal got a rubber bullet in his butt every time he was near people, I'm sure he'd learn pretty quickly to be afraid.

by Mark Picard on Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:43 pm
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Rubber bullets cost more than real ones. :( :( :(  

Nobody wanted this elk's future behavior on their watch! I've unfortunately seen this human response all too many times! All it would have taken was a little training in wildlife behavior and this could have been avoided. But, hey, that would cost money and time! Scott has a great point - the Elk could have been easily chased off. This kinda' stuff makes me so friggin' angry!!!

by david fletcher on Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:03 am
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1. the dude with the camera, not a photographer, is totally to blame for this Elk's life being taken. his decision to "play" hard ball. No thoughts to the consequences. Sitting there, being out of the vehicle, placing himself in it's zone, got it shot! For what! What did he achieve. Some cheap press. Some cheap praise and recognition... Yup. for crass stupidity...
2. All of US, have contributed: (society). The Elk is reported to have been used to humans etc and has a record.... Therefore, WE have already doomed it with our behaviour. WE ARE SO STUPID, BUT NO ONE SEEMS ABLE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS. (or even recognise their actions are an issue). We seem totally unable to identify and recognise what we are doing. Sort of, I'll film it. It's not real! Might get me some credits. Jee! wow! lotta crap!. This young dude is now being carved up for lunch. Thank you Mr "I've gotta a camera and will hold my ground".
3. Mark! You ar'nt alone being angry.
4. Until we can get the public to accept their responsibility, and see that they DO have a role, with their behaviour, rather than just funding state parks by their visits we will always have these issues. It does go deeper. Humanity and wildlife.. We are the photographers... We are the caretakers. Problem being that many have a camera, is deemed a "photographer". Bit of a joke. Like that geezer that sits in front of an Elk which gets shot!!!!!!! -
Make your life spectacular!

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