News Release

WARNING: Stay away from bull elk in Yellowstone National Park, especially during fall mating season

bull elk bugling
A bull elk bugling in Mammoth Hot Springs.

NPS / Jacob W. Frank

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News Release Date: September 6, 2023

Contact: Linda Veress, (307) 344-2015

  • The elk mating season, commonly referred to as the rut, has begun in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Stay away, stay safe! Bull elk are unpredictable during this time of year and people have been severely injured. Elk run quickly and may change direction without warning.
  • You are responsible for your own safety. Stay at least 25 yards (two bus lengths) from elk. If an elk approaches you, back away immediately.
  • If an elk charges you:
    • Quickly find shelter in your vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier.
    • Run away if nearby shelter is not available.
  • Give them room, use your zoom. Never approach or pursue animals to take their picture. Lenses with focal lengths of 300mm or greater are recommended for adequate reach.
  • Follow directions from park rangers.

Last updated: September 18, 2023

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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