Elk NetworkArizona Woman Feeds Elk, Then Dies in Apparent Attack

General | November 8, 2023

Below is a news release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

A woman has died eight days after being hospitalized as the result of an apparent elk attack on her property in the Pine Lake community in the Hualapai Mountains, about 15 miles southeast of Kingman.

The attack occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 26 while the woman’s husband was in Kingman. According to the husband, when he returned around 6 p.m., he found his wife on the ground in the backyard with injuries consistent with being trampled by an elk. He also observed a bucket of spilled corn nearby. There were no witnesses to the event.

The husband called 911, and his wife was transported first to the Kingman Regional Medical Center and then to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. According to the husband, she was put into a medically induced coma due to the extent of her injuries.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) did not learn about the attack until the next day, Oct. 27, when a local resident informed a department officer. On Oct. 28, another AZGFD officer visited the community, put door hanger warning signs on residences along the road advising people not to approach or feed elk, and spoke with the victim’s husband and other residents. While at the victim’s residence, the officer observed multiple elk tracks in the yard.

On Nov. 3, AZGFD was contacted by the Kingman Police Department advising that the Clark County (Las Vegas) Coroner’s Office notified them the victim had passed away. AZGFD officers went door to door in the Pine Lake community that evening, putting out more door hanger warning signs and two roadside warning signs advising people not to approach or feed elk.

This is believed to be the first fatal elk attack in Arizona. There have been five reported elk attacks in the state during the past five years. Feeding is one of the main sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Fed wildlife becomes habituated to humans. For example, in 2015, two children suffered minor injuries after a food-seeking elk circled a picnic table from which their family was eating in the Hualapai Mountains. In 2021, an adult female received serious head injuries from an elk that was habituated to humans in Pine.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s office has determined the death to be caused by an accident. AZGFD will continue to urge residents not to feed elk and other wildlife and will continue to monitor elk activity in the area.

The public is urged to help keep wildlife wild. Wildlife that are fed by people, or that get food sources from items such as unsecured garbage or pet food, lose their natural fear of humans and become dependent on unnatural food sources. Feeding puts at risk the person doing the feeding, their neighbors, and the wildlife itself. Please do not feed wildlife.

(Photo credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department)