Wildlife guide Jody Tibbitts added to the collection of bizarre human behavior caught on tape in Yellowstone National Park this year when he witnessed a cow elk butt a woman who got too close. (Manny Perez/Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris)

Elk charges woman from WyoFile on Vimeo.

Wildlife guide Jody Tibbitts added to the collection of bizarre human behavior caught on tape in Yellowstone National Park this year when he witnessed a cow elk charge a woman who got too close.

As he was explaining the natural scene near Yellowstone’s West Thumb, Tibbitts saw a woman approach an elk. He began to warn her of the danger. It was too late. The elk, which might have just given birth to a calf, rushed the photographer, who tripped, and left her sprawling on the ground. Manny Perez, a client in Tibbitts’ vehicle, shot the video.

This summer visitors have petted bison (dangerous), picked up a wild bison calf that was shivering (it had to be euthanized), and walked across a fragile thermal feature (illegal).

The incident happened on May 29. Tibbitts, who enjoys telling visitors about the goings on in the world’s first national park, said he also feels like he needs to protect the wildlife when he can. He’s certain at least one good thing will come from the encounter. As the photographer can be heard saying in the video “It won’t happen again.”

Reporter Angus Thuermer was laughing so hard when he saw this video while interviewing guide Jody Tibbitts that he misunderstood the guide and screwed up. Tibbitts says the elk didn’t butt the woman, as originally reported here, but that she tripped as it charged her. The account has now been corrected — Ed.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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  1. For years I went into the middle of herds of female elk and their calves in the spring to take photos or simply enjoy them . I found the only way was to crawl slowly into them from a distance. When finished, I would slowly crawl away. All of this takes quite a bit of time. Many times I have had them come over and check me out. Often, they would circle me, stretch out their necks for a better look, sniff the air etc. and then apparently decide the low-profile critter on the ground was harmless. I did that a couple of times with antelope when I was hunting them. The problem was that I could never pull the trigger when we were eyeball to eyeball. It just didn’t seem fair to trick them like that.