EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4)– It’s mating season for one of Colorado’s most iconic creatures and that increases encounters with overly-aggressive elk.

A deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office knows that all too well after a bull charged her while she sat inside her patrol car in Evergreen.

It happened Wednesday near the soccer fields at Evergreen High School. The deputy reported a cow elk came pretty close to her car, followed by a bull that was apparently feeling threatened. That’s when the bull elk rammed her patrol car.

The damage done by a bull elk to a Jeffco Sheriff's Office deputy's car (credit: CBS)

The damage done by a bull elk to a Jeffco Sheriff’s Office deputy’s car (credit: CBS)

“While she was parked in the patrol car, there was a cow and a bull near her and the cow wandered too close to the patrol car and the bull looked at that as a threat and charged,” said Jeffco Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Techmeyer.

The front panel of the car was damaged but the deputy was able to scare away the bull by turning on her lights and sirens before it could hit the car again. The deputy was not hurt.

Monday afternoon CBS4 spotted the likely culprit, a massive 700 pound bull elk and his small herd of cows and calves, resting on a grassy patch out front of an Evergreen church.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

As CBS4 gathered video from a parking lot across the street, several people with smartphones seemed to get a little too close to the elk.

“Bull elk can be highly dangerous, they’re highly protective just like what was proven with our deputy,” said Techmeyer. “They are very spontaneous beasts.”

Wildlife experts say if the elk are forced to take notice, those people are getting too close.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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