Basic Safety Tips for Photographing Elks in the Wild

Elks
Image: apogeephoto.com

Jeremiah Caughron has spent nearly eight years as a sales manager at a major heating/air conditioning company. More recently, he expanded his professional activities by becoming the owner of a commercial construction and services company. Beyond his work, Jeremiah Caughron enjoys nature photography. His favorite subjects include wild elks.

Elks are herbivorous animals that are typically docile toward humans. However, nature photographers should understand that an elk can become aggressive and dangerous quickly and can show signs and behaviors that warn of this change.

Elks may display irritation in several ways, including teeth grinding and ears set flat against the head. People should never initiate physical contact or attempt to feed an elk or any wild animal.

Photographers must always maintain a safe distance from an elk. In general, people should stay as far from the animal as they need, though 30 meters is a fine standard. Lenses, scopes, and other equipment can improve photographs taken from a distance.

Lastly, nothing can change an elk’s attitude as quickly as a perceived threat to a calf. Photographers observing a mother elk in the company of younger animals must be especially cautious and never position themselves between mother and calf.

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