Elk and safety: Photographer is 'almost gored' after getting up close and personal with majestic beast

·News Editor

When this photographer tried to capture an elk in its natural habitat, he never thought he'd get this close to the curious creature.

The wildlife snapper set up to photograph the majestic beast at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, but ended up being the elk's involuntary sparring partner.

What began as a harmless encounter soon turned more dangerous when the elk began harassing him and even giving him full on head-butts.

Vince Camiolo captured the seven-minute sparring session on video, where the photographer is left cowering as the elk points his antlers towards his head.

Vince said: 'I quickly switched the camera to video and let it roll (much of the time wondering when I should seriously consider intervening).'

The stand-off ended when the unnamed photographer is forced to flee into a nearby vehicle.

Vince emailed the photographer for his version events. The photographer said: 'My first thoughts were,wow, he's getting pretty damn close here. But I've been up close before without incident.


'I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring.

'I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off.

'I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.

'So I guess at some point if the Ranger hadn't of pulled up, I would have had to disengage the best I could. I've joked with my friends that at least he took me for a buck and not a cow!'

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