‘I was going to tell you you’re too close to that elk and that’s why’: Footage shows animal charging tourist as she takes a photo

  • Footage was taken at Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. by a visitor
  • The tourist is warned by a tour guide that she is too close to the animal
  • Elk then charges towards her, woman then apologises for being so close




This is the moment a female tourist got too close for comfort to an angry elk and was charged to the ground by it. Footage of her was taken at Yellowstone National Park in the US by a visitor who was in a vehicle nearby with a ranger, Jody Tibbitts, who can be heard in the background telling the woman that her actions aren’t altogether sensible. At the start a woman in a blue coat and jeans can be seen taking a photo or recording a video of the animal in the woods.

This is the moment that an over-confident tourist (left) decided to snap a large Elk in Yellowstone National Park. But the creature charged her (right)

The tourist tripped over, presumably in a panic, as the elk approached. The picture on the right shows the elk backing away as the woman tried to get to her feet

Tibbitts, who has been working at the national park since 1991 and shared the clip on Facebook1, tries to warn the woman by saying ‘ma’am, ma’am, could you please’. But before he can finish his sentence it’s too late.

The elk appears from behind some trees and charges towards the woman. The tourist walks away after her close encounter, promising that ‘it won’t happen again’

The camera misses the next few moments of the animal encounter and pans up to show that the tourist is now on the ground.

‘I was just going to tell you you’re too close to that elk, and that’s why,’ adds Tibbitts. The woman says that it ‘won’t happen again’, to which the park tour guide adds: ‘I’m sure it won’t.’

Speaking to the EastIdahoNews2, Tibbitts, who says that the woman tripped before she could be butted, said: ‘Literally on a daily basis I’m having to tell people they’re way too close to animals.

‘I’ve even seen folks chase bears into the woods for a picture.’

The Yellowstone website3 warns visitors that they ‘must stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes’. It also highlights that animals should not be fed as it ‘harms them and it is illegal’.


Answering the question ‘what is the stupidest thing you have ever seen a tourist do inside a national park?’ on Reddit, the following five answers were highlighted as the best:

1. Cortechthrowaway: ‘When I worked in Idaho’s River of No Return Wilderness, we’d regularly encounter people who had watched too much Discovery Channel and decided to abandon civilization and “live off the land”. These survivalist types never came prepared with a rod or a gun or even a tent. No. They were going to build a thatch shelter and whittle a spear and go stab an elk, or something. Of course, if anyone had ever succeeded in this, they’d get bored and cold and hungry and walk back out the way they’d come in.’


King_bestestes: ‘So this is my favourite tourist story. I was in a national park at the visitor’s center. Suddenly, there’s this huge commotion and a lot of screaming from the lobby. I head over to find an entire tourist family crying and screaming and the park staff trying their best to manage the situation. Then the air shifts and it hits me. They had applied a liberal amount of bear spray all over themselves and the entire lobby. Apparently, they had mistaken the wording of ‘bear repellent’ and had assumed it was to be used like mosquito repellent.

3. ColorMeStunned: ‘I once had a lady get really mad at me because “the trees here look just like the ones in my backyard!”… That’s not my fault.’


Dumbtourists: ‘People would go hiking up Half Dome despite thunderstorm/lightning warnings, people would be playing around in the water or near it right before a waterfall drop off, people would be swimming in lakes with thunderstorms and lightning on the horizon, people would leave food in their car despite bear warnings everywhere. Basically National Parks are full of idiots and when people go missing, get hurt or die I’m no longer surprised.’

5. Gcviking: ‘I was a fire fighter on a national forest.

I saw people trying to take selfies with a bear.’


  1. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  2. ^ EastIdahoNews (q13fox.com)
  3. ^ website (www.nps.gov)

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