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Estes Park Employee Called Hero For Actions During 'Very Aggressive' Elk Attack

ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) - An Estes Park town employee is being called a hero after he helped save a woman from a charging bull elk. Brian Berg, Estes Park's Park Supervisor, separated a bull elk that was goring a woman near the town's visitor center Thursday afternoon.

elk estes park attack (2)
An image of the elk being aggressive with people in Estes Park (credit: CBS)
elk estes park attack (1)
An image of the elk being aggressive with people in Estes Park (credit: CBS)

"That bull was very aggressive," Berg told CBS4's Dillon Thomas.

Berg said he was heading to a meeting when he first noticed the bull charging the woman. He swerved through oncoming traffic to get to the visitor center parking lot, where the attack was taking place.

Karen Harrison, a visitor to Estes Park celebrating her anniversary, started recording the attack from her vehicle.

"I cut the video on. I knew (the bull) was mad, he was charging," Harrison said. "Everybody ran off, and she was there by herself with this elk attacking her."

Harrison recorded as Berg hopped the curb and sped down the sidewalk toward the attack. The woman was pinned against a rock, on the ground, as the elk repeatedly tried to gore her with its horns.

"When she got up, he went back at her," Berg said.

"(The bull) flipped her, several times," Harrison said.

Berg quickly approached the bull, in his truck, separating the elk from the woman. As the woman ran to safety Berg continued to distract
the elk with his truck.

"I was able to drive and park right in front of the bull and the people. And, he just hit (my truck) as soon as I parked," Berg said. "He shook that truck like it was nothing. He put a pretty good hole through it."

The woman was treated by medics. A nearby man was treated for injuries she sustained while fleeing the charging elk.

"This time of the year, (this town) is the elks'," Berg said.

Elk in Estes Park
Irmelin Shively sent in this photo of elk in Estes Park on May 30.

Berg said visitors often get too comfortable, and approach the elk too closely. During the rut, the mating season, bull elk are aggressively protective of their herd.

"The bulls come down, and the people come following them," Berg said. "These are wild animals. They will do whatever they want whenever they want."

Berg said, unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for humans to get closer than 100 yards just to take pictures.

"I wish I could say it (rare). But, no. People get too close to the elk all the time. It is a very dangerous situation," Berg said.

(credit: CBS)

Only CBS4 was there as Berg was reunited with Harrison. Harrison gave Berg a long hug, and thanked him for intervening when nobody else would or could.

"I'm just glad you were there for them," Harrison said as she hugged him. "Without you, things could have gotten really bad."
Harrison told CBS4 Berg was nothing less than a hero for his actions.

Berg said he was just happy to be in the right place at the right time, adding that most times others won't have the same fortune.

"Everyone gets lucky every once in a while," Berg said. "I hope that everybody that sees the video learns to stay back. Way back. That's why we have zoom on our cameras."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say humans should not physically intervene when an elk is attacking a person. Those witnessing an attack are encouraged to yell, clap or honk a car horn. They can also throw items at the elk in an effort to distract it during an attack.

Those who witness an attack are encouraged to keep a large physical barrier between themselves and an aggressive elk, and leave the animal a clear path to escape.

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