Video of elk — with one confused straggler — goes viral

A Bozeman man’s 3-minute video of hundreds of elk hopping a fence and crossing a road east of Bozeman – and the perseverance of one straggler to keep up with the group – is an online hit.

The videographer, Austin Stonnell, 19, is from Camano Island.

“I was very surprised,” Stonnell told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “I mean, it’s a video about elk.”

Stonnell was coming home from work when he spotted the herd of elk in a field where there are usually cows, he said.

“I quickly got into my house, grabbed my camera and came back,” he said.

Hundreds of animals cleared the fence and continued on into a snowy field within the first minute, but the final elk makes several unsuccessful efforts to hop over and walk through the fence.

The straggler walks up and down the fence line and finally backs up and gets a running start before clearing the barrier and joining the herd, including three that appeared to stay back and wait.

Stonnell said he posted the video on Facebook and when it got 15 “likes” he thought: “might as well put it on YouTube.” He uploaded his video titled “Massive herd of elk in Montana” on March 27. It had more than 1.3 million hits by Wednesday.

Stonnell is from Camano Island and is living in Bozeman to gain residency so he can pursue a chemical engineering degree at Montana State University.

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