A woman has died after an apparent elk attack outside her home in the Pine Lake community in the Hualapai Mountains of Arizona.
The woman, who has not yet been identified, was found trampled by her husband when he returned home on the evening of October 26, 2023.
According to a statement from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), the woman’s husband arrived home around 6pm to find his wife lying on the ground in their backyard with serious injuries consistent with being trampled by an elk. Next to her was a spilled bucket of corn, indicating she may have been in the process of feeding elk at the time of the attack.
The husband immediately called 911 and the woman was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center before being airlifted to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas due to the severity of her injuries. She was placed in a medically induced coma but succumbed to her injuries over a week later on November 3, 2023. The Clark County Medical Examiner has ruled her death an accident.
AZGFD officials were made aware of the attack on October 27 by a local Pine Lake resident. The following day, AZGFD officers visited the home where the attack occurred and spoke with the victim’s husband to get details on the incident. During their site visit, the officers observed multiple elk tracks in the yard. AZGFD then began hanging warning signs around the neighborhood advising residents to not feed or approach elk and other wildlife.
This incident is believed to be the first fatal elk attack recorded in the state of Arizona. Over the past five years, there have been five reported elk attacks, but none resulting in human fatalities. AZGFD notes that feeding elk causes them to become habituated to humans and lose their natural fear, creating hazardous situations.
In their statement, AZGFD urged, “The public is asked to help keep wildlife wild. Feeding elk and other wildlife attracts them to areas frequented by people, which can create dangerous interactions. AZGFD will continue to monitor elk activity in the Pine Lake area and encourages residents to report any concerns.”
The victim was a resident of the Pine Lake community, but her identity is being withheld until next of kin are notified. AZGFD indicates it will provide further updates as more details emerge in this ongoing investigation. For now, they continue to warn people against feeding or approaching elk and other wildlife.
Cover photo courtesy of: Kaibab National Forest