Woman trampled to death becomes first to die from elk attack in Arizona after apparently trying to feed the animal

There have been five attacks in the previous five years in the state.

A woman who was attacked by an elk last month has died of her injuries after being trampled by the animal after apparently trying to feed it, officials said.

The attack occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 26 on her property in the Pine Lake community in the Hualapai Mountains, some 15 miles southeast of Kingman, Arizona, according to a statement from Arizona Game and Fish Department released on Wednesday.

“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,” authorities said. “He also observed a bucket of spilled corn nearby. There were no witnesses to the event.”

The victim’s husband immediately called emergency services and his wife was initially taken to the Kingman Regional Medical Center before being moved to the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She was put into a medically induced coma due to the extent of her injuries, according to her husband.

“The Arizona Game and Fish Department did not learn about the attack until the next day, Oct. 27, when a local resident informed a department officer,” officials said. “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.”

Authorities were contacted by the Kingman Police Department on Nov. 3 advising that the Clark County (Las Vegas) Coroner’s Office notified them the victim had passed away.

Following the notification of death, AZGFD officers went door to door in the Pine Lake community and put out more door hanger warning signs along with two roadside warning signs advising people “not to approach or feed elk.”

This is believed to be the first fatal elk attack in Arizona, AZGFD said.

However, even though this is thought to be the first death due to elk attack in the state, there have been five reported elk attacks in Arizona in the past five years, AZGFD said.

“Feeding is one of the main sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Fed wildlife becomes habituated to humans,” officials said. “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 and the AZGFD continue to urge residents not to feed elk and other wildlife and said they 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,” AZGFD said in their statement to the public. “Feeding puts at risk the person doing the feeding, their neighbors, and the wildlife itself. Please do not feed wildlife.”