During certain times of the year, some of the hiking trails near where I live wind through herds of elk standing on or near the trails. What precautions should you take when hiking among elk?
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If you are being given threatening looks or are in an encounter with an elk:
The rule of thumb in Banff National Park is to keep three bus lengths away from elk. Having said that it's easy to accidentally be within a few feet an an elk. Don't panic if it happens, it's very unlikely the elk will charge you (in Banff we see elk every day but there hasn't been a contact incident in 3 years). Elk are easily startled but most of the time they are ambivalent, and more rarely either walking away or flee outright. The rare time when an elk might charge unprovoked is if you are between a cow and its calves (spring time) or near bulls or their harem during rutting season (fall).