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Drone User Ticketed for Causing an Elk Stampede

elk stampede
Travis Smola

A drone operator in Wyoming caused a herd of elk to stampede for half a mile.

Jackson, Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge is a popular place to see massive herds of wintering elk this time of year.

But it’s also a stressful time of year for the animals as they try to survive until spring. U.S. Fish and Wildlife authorities obviously weren’t amused when a man from Washington D.C. decided to fly a drone near a herd of 1,500 animals.

Obviously the elk weren’t happy to see the drone and subsequently stampeded for a half mile last Monday. The Associated Press reports 45-year-old David A. Smart was issued a $280 ticket for the incident.

Interestingly enough, while drone use is strictly prohibited in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks north of Jackson, licensed drone use is still allowed in some parts of the refuge.

But because most of it is within five miles of Jackson’s airport, drone users are supposed to notify airport officials of their intentions to use one and they must be licensed.

The drone-caused elk stampede is just the latest wintering animal incident to make headlines in the American West.

In Utah, officials shut down shed hunting due to people pressuring animals and in Idaho there have been multiple die-offs of elk due to hungry animals eating toxic, decorative shrubs.

Hang in there animals, the winter is almost done!

NEXT: YOU KNOW IT’S A HARD WINTER WHEN THE DEER TAKE TO THE ROOFTOPS

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Drone User Ticketed for Causing an Elk Stampede