DENVER (CBS4)– Elk attacks are a situation that can be avoided according to wildlife experts. There have been a couple so far this year along the Front Range.

“If you’re taking pictures and they stop eating, they lift their heads and they turn… you’re too close to those animals,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill.

On Sunday evening, man was attacked on off Highway 34 near the Estes Park Visitor’s Center after he apparently got too close to the herd. He was rushed to the hospital.

A picture of the man just before he was attacked (credit: Marci Bowden)

A picture of the man just before he was attacked (credit: Marci Bowden)

It’s rutting season for elk which makes them more territorial. Bull elk are full of testosterone and weigh about 1,000 pounds which makes them dangerous if they feel threatened.

“They don’t pay attention to people, they don’t tolerate people being around them, especially if you get between a bull and his cow,” said Churchill.

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.

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)

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.

Rutting season lasts through October but bull elk can always be territorial regardless of the time of year.

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