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Alarming elk attacks in Colorado tourist town: 2 kids and a dog walker stomped

'Never seen a year like this,' wildlife official says of Estes Park incidents

A bull elk chases a cow, a courting maneuver, during the rut in a meadow near Moraine Park on September 24, 2023 in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
A bull elk chases a cow, a courting maneuver, during the rut in a meadow near Moraine Park on September 24, 2023 in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
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In barely a week, two children and a woman were stomped and kicked by elk in a Colorado tourist town, attacks that wildlife officials called unprecedented behavior.

The incidents occurred in Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department said.

• On May 30, an 8-year-old girl riding her bike was charged from 60 yards away by a cow elk, which then stomped her.

• On June 3, a 4-year-old boy at a playground was attacked by a cow elk.

• On June 7, a woman walking her dog on a leash was charged by a cow elk from about 20 yards away. The woman tried to run behind a tree for safety, but the elk knocked her to the ground and stomped and kicked her.

The three victims received treatment for unspecified injuries and did not require hospitalization.

In all the incidents, an elk calf was in the area.

“Cow elk with young calves are known to be aggressive; however, we’ve never seen a year like this,” Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch said in a statement.

“All three attacks have been unprovoked and unfortunate accidents. We have no clear evidence to suggest these attacks were from the same animal, which underscores how uncommon the elk behavior has been,” he said.

A mature Rocky Mountain cow elk weighs about 500 pounds and stands 4½ feet at the top of the back.

CPW officials said they’re urging Estes Park residents and visitors to be extra cautious until elk calving season ends, in the early summer.

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