GATLINBURG, Tenn. – In a video that has now gone viral, an elk faced off with a photographer who was documenting the animals at sunrise on a fall day in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee last month.
Instead of smiling for the camera, the video shows the elk repeatedly headbutting the photographer, who has been identified as James York, as he was sitting on the side of the road. Eventually, a ranger rescues York in the clip, which was uploaded to YouTube on Nov. 12 by another photographer Vince M. Camiolo.
According to the video description, this is how York described the incident to Camiolo:
“I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared,” York said. “That’s when I wagged my finger at him. … I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.”