It's not uncommon to see elk in Estes Park, Colorado, but this one shows up someplace unexpected.
Estes Park is known for its elk herd and their uncommon behaviors and lack of fear of humans. This can create some strange situations.
For example, back in 2017, a big bull elk walked right into a gift shop and browsed for about 45 minutes. At one point the bull was lured out the door by police officers offering apples only to return to the store less than ten minutes later. Much to the store owner's chagrin. Luckily, both the elk and the shop owner remained calm, no one was injured, and the bull left the store without causing any serious damage.
Still, you can hear the genuine concern in the store owner's voice as the bull bumps into some of the displays inside the store over the course of the ten-minute video. Especially when the animal returns after seemingly leaving. There looks to be a lot of breakable merchandise inside. Remember that old saying about a bull in a China shop?
We get the feeling the bull returned to the store because the crowd that had gathered outside made him nervous. This video was shot in January, long after the rut was over and these animals are simply trying to survive until spring. It may have felt it was in danger and simply wanted to get as far away from the people as possible.
This store owner did a great job of keeping his cool and not alarming the elk. It really was the right call to just stay calm and let him leave on his own. This animal was much too large to try and remove by force. Who knows what would have happened if he freaked out or tried to chase the bull from the shop. As animal/human encounters become more common, everyone needs to be prepared to deal with a few wild visitors in the human world.
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