Wildlife photographer Craig Miller was doing what he does best, filming and documenting wildlife at Rumsey Park when he spotted a young bull elk making its way over to the playground.
He said the young bull walked straight into the sandbox of the volleyball courts and was jumping around, playing in the sand. It didn’t take long for the riled-up animal to start practicing and doing battle with the volleyball net and boundary lines.
Craig stood away at a safe distance taking photographs of the magnificent creature, however, all of a sudden, things started to take a turn for the worse.
A family of one mother and two children began making their way towards the young bull in awe, apparently not realizing how much danger they were in, being that close, and they kept getting closer, and closer, and closer.
“When just a few feet separated the bull from the mom and her children, then behind her back, the two-pronged bull lowered his antlers, a show of behavior that he expected his ‘opponent’ to join him in scrimmage,” Craig wrote on Facebook.
In the photos, you can see the family get scared as they realize that the bull was ready for battle and the children all get behind their mother right as the young bull comes at her with his antlers down and knocks her to the ground.
One of the children runs away while the other child gets knocked to the ground with his mother as the young bull stands over top of them.
The young bull towers over them boldly claiming his territory.
Fortunately, the children and mother were able to collect themselves and hid behind trees and playground equipment in the park which deescalated the situation and ended the scuffle.
“Thank the good Lord above that the kids were able to run away from danger and mom was able to get behind a tree,” Craig said. “We must remember that, as much as most of us love seeing the beautiful elk roam our neighborhoods, parks and roads, the elk are wild creatures, without the reasoning capacity that we humans have.”
Craig said he was almost reluctant to share the photos on social media but decided to do it anyway because he hopes it will remind those who see the photos to always stay in a safe area when around elk.
“I debated about whether or not to post this pictorial,” he wrote. “I know, from my own personal experience, that this mom had to be thinking, in this whirlwind moment, that she and/or her children were going to die. I decided to go ahead and share these pictures in the hope that maybe someone else may be spared this family’s fear.”