Alarming elk attacks in Colorado tourist town: 2 kids and a dogwalker stomped

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A bull elk chases a cow, a courting maneuver, during the rut in a meadow near Moraine Park on September 24, 2023 in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

In barely a week, two children and a woman were stomped and kicked by elk in a Colorado tourist town, attacks that wildlife officials called unprecedented behavior.

The incidents occurred in Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department said.

• On May 30, an 8-year-old girl riding her bike was charged from 60 yards away by a cow elk, which then stomped her.

• On June 3, a 4-year-old boy at a playground was attacked by a cow elk.

• On June 7, a woman walking her dog on a leash was charged by a cow elk from about 20 yards away. The woman tried to run behind a tree for safety, but the elk knocked her to the ground and stomped and kicked her.

The three victims received treatment for unspecified injuries and did not require hospitalization.

In all the incidents, an elk calf was in the area.

“Cow elk with young calves are known to be aggressive; however, we’ve never seen a year like this,” Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch said in a statement.

“All three attacks have been unprovoked and unfortunate accidents. We have no clear evidence to suggest these attacks were from the same animal, which underscores how uncommon the elk behavior has been,” he said.

A mature Rocky Mountain cow elk weighs about 500 pounds and stands 4½ feet at the top of the back.

CPW officials said they’re urging Estes Park residents and visitors to be extra cautious until elk calving season ends, in the early summer.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.