August 10, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

How far away is death? Angry bull elk

bull elk

A photographer was shooting wildlife on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park when a bull elk confronted him.

The bull elk kept coming back to the photographer and rather aggressively “needling” him with his antlers. As the photographer was sitting on the ground to capture the best angles of mountain wildlife, the elk had a good chance to skewer the shutterbug’s head — so, the latter kept adjusting and re-adjusting his cap to ward off that happening.

At the beginning of the video below we are told that this occurred “on October 20, 2013,” when “a photographer, from a safe and respectful distance, was photographing elk in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

You can see in the video how things progressed, and there were several scary moments. There is more to the story; you can read it at the end of this post.

The videographer, Vince M. Camiolo, states, “While photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I turned around to see what appeared to be just a curious young bull sniffing a photographer’s camera. I snapped a few frames of the apparent harmless encounter. But the elk became more interested in making trouble than simply the scent of a camera. He started physically harassing the photographer, escalating to full on head-butts. I quickly switched the camera to video and let it roll (much of the time wondering when I should seriously consider intervening). Most people who see this ask why the photographer seems to just take the abuse. I asked him in an email what was going through his head.”

Read the full account here, and you’ll also find out what subsequently happened to the young bull elk.

Video content source/credit: Vince M. Camiolo, “Elk vs. Photographer | Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Nov. 12, 2013.

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How Far Away Is Death?
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