Spike elk spars with photographer in Great Smoky Mountains

Nov. 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM
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GATLINBURG, Tenn., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Tennessee blogger captured images of a spike elk sparring with a photographer who apparently got too close to the animal.

Roger Trentham, a blogger for GoSmokies, which is operated by the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, said he was driving Sunday in Cataloochee when he spotted a group of about 20 people watching and photographing a bull elk with his 10 cows and three calves, the News Sentinel reported Thursday.

Trentham said he stopped to watch the animals and he soon spotted a spike elk off to the side sparring with one of the photographers.

"The spike had apparently come out of the woods behind the man and wanted to do a little sparring. I turned my camera and began recording the session," Trentham said. "The man lowered his head to avoid eye contact and covered his face with his arms while the spike placed the crown of his head between his antlers against the man's head and began turning back and forth. The man protected himself as best he could with his arms while clutching his camera and this went on for several minutes."

Trentham said the man, who did not appear to be injured, was able to climb into a car that drove up and spooked the elk.

"Unfortunately, the man left his backpack and camera lens on the ground. For some reason the spike approached the backpack then took the strap in his teeth and began to pick up the backpack," Trentham said. "The car driver moved forward again and the man opened his car door and the spike dropped the pack and the man was able to retrieve it."

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