Caught On Tape: Elk Head Butts Photographer For Seven Minutes

Share This Story

A photographer trying to capture some shots of nature in the Smokey Mountains had a frightening experience with some wildlife.

In a seven minute video, James York, of North Carolina, has quite the unusual run in with a young bull elk in the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

York explains that he was taking pictures this week when the elk, being intrigued by the clicking of the camera, approached the photographer to further investigate.


This is when the video begins.

York says that in effort to protect his vital organs and face, he hunched over and lowered his head.

In hindsight, York infers that this may have been a sign to the elk that he was attempting to spar with him.


The video continues as York attempts to protect himself, while the elk lowers his antlers and proceeds to head butt the man.  As the video goes on, the head butts become more and more aggressive.

About half way through the video, you can hear a man state that the experience was, “a little scary.”


It seems however that about 2/3 of the way through the video, the elk shows that he may just be playing with the man.  After head butting the man on several occasions, the elk seems to step back and playfully prance returning for another assault.

Luckily for the man, a park ranger soon pulls up and instructs York on how to remove himself from the situation.  York, following the directions of the ranger, does so and safely retreats to the SUV.


York says that, “My first thoughts were ‘wow, he’s getting pretty damn close here,’” but goes on to explain that, “I’ve been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on.”

In a recent ABC news interview, York jokingly mentioned that, “Everyone says I have a hard head,” adding that, “I am glad I do because it came in handy that day.”

Share This Story

Like it? Leave a comment...

United States
National Debt