DENVER (KDVR) — The elk rut is getting underway in Colorado and will last until mid-October, according to the National Park Service.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said elk are more active, potentially more aggressive near trails, and less aware when along roadways.

Are you too close to the elk?

Getting too close to wildlife can be very dangerous, especially during the rut. The rule of thumb is to hold your thumb up over the animal at a distance. If your thumb covers the animal’s body entirely, you are likely a safe distance away.

It is also important to remember to never feed wild animals. Do not risk your safety to take a photo of an animal.

Where are the elk?

Elk can be spotted during the fall at many places across the state. From golf courses to elk traffic jams to elk in parking lots of grocery stores, there are many opportunities to see beautiful big game.

Here are five great places to see elk this fall:

  1. Evergreen– Located off of I-70, west of Genesee in Jefferson County
  2. Estes Park– You can also check out Elk Fest on Oct. 1-2
  3. Mueller State Park– Located near Divide with 55 miles of trails and thousands of acres
  4. West Elk Wilderness– Located near Gunnison, the U.S. Forest Service said there’s over 200 miles of constructed trails
  5. Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge– Located north of Golden, it is a great place to see elk. You also have the opportunity to see other wildlife in the area, such as deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs.

Protect the elk by keeping your property clean

If you live in an area where elk frequent, it’s important to keep your property cleaned up to protect the elk. Here are some tips from CPW:

  • Place lights and other decorations above six feet or attached tightly to trees and buildings
  • Lights that hang low or that are draped insecurely over vegetation can get tangled easily in antlers
  • Report any wildlife entanglement immediately and don’t try to intervene by yourself

Residents on the Front Range can call CPW’s Denver office at 303-291-7227 to report entangled wildlife, or if elsewhere in the state they can look up their local CPW office. If it is after hours when offices are closed, residents are asked to call Colorado State Patrol at 303-239-4501 and ask for the on-call wildlife officer.