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Be aware and use caution during elk calving season

Elk calving season takes place each spring. During this time, female elk, or cows, become irritable and highly protective of their young calves. Though they may look harmless, like the bull elk during the rut, cows are extremely dangerous during calving season. Known calving areas should be avoided and caution should be exercised at all times during calving season.


The bird sanctuary along the Lake Estes Trail is a common place for the elk to give birth, however births can take place in any area. For your safety it is important to obey the trail closed signs and take a different route. Be watchful in your neighborhood and around your home, in past years people have been injured at their homes by unexpectedly walking out and getting between a mother and her calf.


Helpful tips:


- Be aware of your surroundings. Elk are everywhere and you never know when you may be near a cow and calf.

- If you see that a trail is closed during calving, obey the warning and head the other way.

- Elk are wild animals which must be observed from a safe distance to avoid injury or death. If an animal is carefully watching you and appears “jumpy” when you move, you are too close.

- Keep pets secured on a leash and do not allow them to bark at, lunge at, or chase wildlife.

- Never block traffic. Move your vehicle to a safe place off the roadway to watch elk.

- Elk know no boundaries, but people do. Respect private property when viewing wildlife.


If you see a protective female elk in a public area with the potential to endanger people, please call the Estes Park Police Department at 970-586-4000. The Estes Park Police Department does enforce wildlife laws that include laws against feeding or harassing wildlife, or allowing one’s pet to harass wildlife. To receive Town news and/or agendas in your email inbox, please email