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Elk Attack!

Shreesh Taskar

Man in a
Yellow Jacket

FJ Cruiser vs. Elk. FJ wins but not unscathed.

We have been here in Kelly Wyoming leading a very scholastic life. Days begin with us getting up at four or four-thirty AM and end around ten PM with the entire time in between devoted to classes or studies. I have never been such a dedicated student in my life as I am these days. It has been like finals week, but now going on three weeks!

Grand Teton National Park, where we live, is full of wildlife. Buffalo roam by the hundreds, Elk by the thousands and there is a smattering of Moose, Coyote, and other animals. We made a rule at the beginning of this trip to never drive at night and have mostly adhered to it. But this weekend we had Emergency Room rotations so we had to make a trek out to Riverton, WY.

It happened on the way from Jackson at 18:55 on Friday. A huge bull Elk weighing over a thousand pounds awaited the FJ around the bend on Route 89. I took evasive action but I didn’t see him till the very last minute. The FJ struck him on a glancing blow on the driver’s side, flipping him over the roof and back down. The windshield was smashed and the A-pillar mostly held but might be compromised. The one inch tubular steel tubing of the GOBI rack was bent back and most of the PIAA lights were smashed.

Incredibly both Neena and I were completely unharmed. The local policeman was astonished that not only were we uninjured but that the FJ was drivable after the impact. This car is nothing short of amazing for we now owe it a large debt that we cannot repay. I hope that the damage to the A-pillar is superficial and the car is not totalled.

Inside the Igloo

Luckily Toyota built the FJ really strong –
enough to flip a 1,000 pound Elk and still drive.

I consider myself to be the most fortunate man alive, to be able to continue having experiences, to enjoy the company of my wife, and to have such caring friends. Our fellow students Christine (Nean), Linda, and Emily stopped to help, their faces full of concern. With our escort, the FJ limped back to the Teton Science school…

34 Responses to “Elk Attack!”

  1. Suhasini Taskar says:

    Dear Shreesh & Neena,
    We are very concerned when we read about your accident with elk. We all should be thankful to almighty god that you both are safe and sound.
    Your dedication to the course is remarkable. This accident must caused quite a bit of shock and distraction in your undertaking. Please let us know about further course of action you will be taking. Is there a good Toyota garage where the car can be fixed?
    Please keep us informed.
    With Love
    Aai & Daddy

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Guys,

    As you know you are always welcome to change your destination and tour Israel. Among other things, we don’t have any Elks, and most camels now have light reflectors so you see them from afar even at night. Plus about one gas tank is enough to tour the entire country. Oh yes, and trees don’t explode here (other things do sometimes).
    Very happy you were not hurt. Looking forward to hearing what happens next!


  3. Nina says:

    I got stunned this morning by reading your lastest news. I am glad both of you are safe. So as FJ :)

  4. Steve R says:

    Shreesh and Neena,

    The pictures of the FJ gave me a glimpse of what the damage was but in no way the potentially very serious accident you avoided. I am glad you did — you might have ended up in the very emergency center you were studying! Hopefully the A-pillar damage is superficial. Also, I hope the distraction was not too much for school, either. Finals, they are tough and require dedication — then wine when they are done! Keep up the excellent posts and stay safe, kids!


  5. Fred says:

    And what of the Elk? Did you eat it? :)

    More seriously, you WERE lucky, I heard of fatalities under similar circumstances. My advice; don’t hit any more beasts.


  6. Ada says:

    I am so thankful neither of you is hurt. All I could say when I read the emal was HOLY SHIT! Thank goodness for that tank you’re driving.

  7. Galan says:

    Wow! A close one! I am very, very glad you are both ok.

    So does Wyoming let you keep the elk when something like this happens? 😉

  8. madhuri says:

    Holy cow! Rather, Holy Elk! Thank God neither of you got hurt.
    Did the elk die?

  9. Janis Bishop says:

    Wow, so glad you are both okay! Sorry but I have to ask too, what happened to the elk?

  10. steve says:

    glad to hear you two are ok after such an experience. will this incident have serious implications on the rest of your journey?

  11. Robin says:

    Neena and Shreesh,

    Omigosh! So glad to hear you two came away with this unscathed and with another story to add to your adventure — I’m sure the air is fresher and your food tastier from this experience. As unfortunate as the occurrence was, it does remind you of what is most important to you and be grateful…

    Quixote (aka the “Bi-Polar Express”) has faithfully served his duty and provided you safe passage. I hope he lives to make it through this odyssey.

    Can’t help but be concerned for your safety, but is tempered with the admiration for your sense of adventure and zest for life.

    I’m glad to hear you have made new friends to help you.

    Be well.



  12. Lakshmi says:

    Happy to hear you guys are fine!

  13. randy says:


    Glad you two are safe and that the FJ lives to see another day. Well, I hope you don’t run into any more elk of his ilk again. Cool-headed driving must have saved the day, or night, as it were. Best wishes on the recovery and rebuilding.

  14. Jerzy says:

    Now, this is a real adventure! Aren’t you glad you were not driving somewhere in Botswana and elk was an elephant?
    Just as Fred, I would like to know what you did with the elk. In the true wilderness spirit you should have smoked it and kept in the trunk for the future consumption.

  15. Neena says:

    Hello all,
    Elk was dead. Within minutes someone hacked the head off with a saw. We were too shaken to think of elk pot roast, unfortuntely. Quixote did really well, the copper asked incredulously, “And your car is idling?”
    We are now trying to prepare for exams, do ER rotations, find an auto body shop….
    Next update when we have time to breathe and/or we know the timeframe on car repairs.
    Dan, Israel is sounding like a great idea…but aren’t you coming to the Bay Area?

  16. Vinay says:

    Whoa! Glad to hear that you guys are fine! Poor elk too! And the damage to Quixote looks nasty! Flip a 1000 pound elk over, wow! They should use quixote for Toyota ads!
    Take care guys

  17. Pramod Taskar says:

    Hope you have completely recovered from Elk hit. Drive little slowly so that even Elk does not die with the impact. (especially at night, your speed as I judge > 40miles). I read one comment from Sameer on your blog but it looks that Abhay & Sameer cannot get on your site. We are still in Pune and when I get back I may try to locate the problem. They are asked to give a password. Question arises has India become China?

  18. Rucha Gupte..Anil mama's daughter. says:

    hey..shreesh n neena..
    let me introduce myself to u…
    well im Rucha Anil mam’s daughter.
    i got to know about ur site 4m ur mum…n its really very intresting..!!!!
    hope u are enjoying..ur trip n ur studies…. i saw ur picsss they are really very beautiful….
    take care drive slowly….n enjoy 😛
    wid love rucha…. :)

  19. Rucha Gupte says:

    hie..shreesh n neena.. :)
    Im Anil mama’s Daughter..Rucha Gupte..
    Ur mum told me about ur project…its really very interesting….!! :)
    the picss are very beautiful..!! im sure that ur enjoying ur trip n ur studies…
    takecare…drive slowly….n enjoy..dnt take any tension..!!! :)
    wid lotss of love rucha… :)

  20. Jim R. says:

    I think you should have mounted the elk’s head to the front grill of the FJ. Glad to hear you’re both OK. Good luck with your exams.
    — Jim

  21. Dennis says:

    Thank goodness the two of you were able to drive away from the accident unharmed. I hope this doesn’t become a major setback in your adventure.


  22. Steve Hom says:

    HI Folks —

    Long time no talk. Glad to hear you survived your meeting a bull elk. We are missing Neena at the Big O. Today i am in Asheville, NC with an old friend of mine. He decided to move from Chicago (where he was a journeymen electrician) and move to Asheville to teach creative writing. The weather is pretty good. Going on a hike tomorrow and do a bit of shopping.

    Amy just got back from a trip to Boston…and last month i visited another old friend who quit as a sous chef in SF and moved back to Fayetteville, AK to become a watercolor artist.

    Looking forward to the story.


  23. Paul Z says:

    The two of you were so fortunate to walk away from that. Thank goodness! Good luck on the vehicle repairs.

  24. Aniruddh Bajirao says:

    Gosh… Glad to know u guys are safe… The pic shows quite some damage… Btw Is FJ fixed?
    I totally admire your sense of adventure and passion for exploring life itself. Wish you great luck ahead…

  25. Brenda says:

    I am glad to hear that both of you are fine. Best of luck on your exams and car repairs. Brenda

  26. Lester says:

    I am so happy to hear that all is well with the two of you. Hardware can be replaced but not the bodies. It is quite a testimony to the solid FJ. A good choice. You need to have a small elk hood ornament now, a s a tribute.

  27. Bhupi (highwayblaze) says:

    Thank god you guys are safe. And after that , just like you guys I too really hope that the A pillar damage is superficial. Do post about it when you find out and about the repairs as well. With a long drive ahead of you, be safe. Looking forward to your next update.

  28. Bhupi (highwayblaze) says:

    By the way what happened to the Elk?

  29. Vivekmama says:

    Hi Shreesh & Nina,

    We all are glad you are safe.

    I am sure you will not ever foreget the Elk encounter.
    Be careful and enjoy the trip. Happy Holidays!

    Mama, Mami, Neil, Monica

  30. Debbie Williams says:

    I am so glad to hear you are okay! You made it through the DEMPSEY in WINTER only to hit an Elk in the good ‘ol US of A! Isn’t fate quirky! You will have to send that into Toyota…they can use that for advertising…who needs an Audi…Toyota can handle a 1,000 lb Elk!

    Anyhow, again glad you are okay.


  31. Shreesh says:

    Debbie –

    It is quite odd that we hit an Elk here in WY, after thousands of miles of driving through animal country in the Yukon and the NWT.

    The current rental car DOES NOT like the snow very much!

  32. Tom Hammer says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you weren’t hurt. Three cheers for Toyota’s engineers!!! Did you at least get to butcher the elk?!

  33. […] It also depends on the car. Here is a story (with pictures) of an FJ Cruiser hitting a 1000 lb elk. Elk Attack! | A Long Drive The elk went over the roof, but caused minimal damage to the A-pillar. Yes, size matters. Having 2 […]

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