As a weekend wildlife photographer I love to try and get as close to the animals as I safely can. It is easy to forget that these animals are wild and have a mind of their own. Even when taking necessary steps to keep a safe distance you can still be in harms way. Just ask this photographer who had a really unique run in with young bull elk recently.
The man was able to get away without being hurt, other than a sore head – but as you can see in the video the danger was very present. While watching this there were several times where I found myself expecting to see this photographer get stabbed with one of those spiked antlers. Luckily, that never came.
This would be a good time to talk about how to safely handle a situation like this if it were to ever happened to you. The photographer in question here handled the situation perfectly, he stayed passive and did not try to get up to get away. Had he done that it would risk the Elk changing from a curious and playful attitude to a scared and defensive one – which could lead to him being trampled, stabbed or worse.
Quick Wildlife safety tips
- Use long telephoto lenses so you can get close without having to be close. The bigger the animal the farther away from it you should be.
- If an animal approaches you stay where you are, move slowly, and do not interact with it other than to protect yourself.
- Keep a wildlife spray on you, like bear spray for example, so if you need to defend yourself you have the means to do so. These things may not stop an attack but they can give you time to try and get away.