Smoky Mountain Elk and Photographer Butt Heads

We posted this video yesterday to Twitter and our Facebook page but thought it would be a good addition to the blog as well. The video is from Cataloochee Valley and looks like it’s very close to where Palmer Fork and Rough Fork join to form Cataloochee creek near the church.

This video probably won’t do much to disspell the belief some may have that the animals in the national park are relatively tame, but this photographer was in danger and knew it. He claims that’s why he stayed seated and didn’t move to prevent provoking the young bull any further.


We’re a bit perplexed that no one came to this guy’s assistance. You can see an occupied car in the background not to mention whoever it is taking the video we’re watching. The car that eventually comes to the rescue is a park employee or more likely volunteer.

Here’s video from the local news in Knoxville that interviewed the man.

Stay safe out there!


Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park report that the elk in the incident has been euthanized because of its lack of fear of humans. Since the incident seen here the same elk had approached more people.

Charity and I recognized the animal as we attended a ranger program about elk in Cataloochee Valley and the animal walked right up to the group from across a field. The volunteer who was conducting the seminar shooed the animal away at the time.

You  can see more on those developments here.


  1. You”re very diplomatic in describing your feelings about no one helping this fellow.

  2. Ian,
    I know this isn’t about the article that you just posted about the encounter with the Elk, but I noticed the twitter feed about the burning of the Dancing Bear Lodge. This is a big loss to Townsend and to many visitors to that area. I picked many clients up from this beautiful place while I was guiding. It had some of the finest wood work that I have seen in the Smokys. I feel your loss as you wait to see what is to be rebuilt. My sympathies to all who are involved in this loss to Townsend.