This fall in Lake Cowichan, we are again fortunate to witness the majestic Roosevelt bull elk!
First, let us not forget that these animals are not tame. Second, these animals are not your new pet. Roosevelt elk are wild animals. They are not to be trusted.
Recently, it has come to my attention that a few people are venturing too close to the elk. While it can be the thrill of a lifetime to witness a bull elk, you must be respectful of these animals by giving them the appropriate amount of space they need to enter or exit an area. Please keep your distance when viewing a bull elk.
On several occasions people have gone way too close to these animals. Numerous people have attempted to get within a few inches of them. In some instances, people actually tried to feed these bull elk…BY HAND!
In another instance someone ripped flowers out of a property owner’s flower box and hand-fed the bull elk!
To an elk, this type of action can very well be seen as a threat! When an elk is threatened, they are unpredictable. They could escape without harming anyone. They could bolt over you and injure you with their hooves. They may attempt to defend themselves with their antlers (use your imagination here).
In closing, I would like to leave you with one thought: if a bear wanders into town, do you try and feed it by hand? When a bear begins to be a threat to humans, the Conservation Officer Service is called and a conservation officer is dispatched. The officer will assess the situation and appropriate action must be taken. The end result might be to relocate or shoot the bear.
These actions are no different for an elk if is deemed that the elk is a threat to humans. Enjoy the elk that have come into town — but enjoy them from a safe distance.
Wilderness Watch Coordinator
Valley Fish & Game Club