A golfer is "lucky to be alive" after getting gored by an elk that "freaked out" and attacked him.
Colorado man Zak Bornhoft, 41, had his kidney split in two and ended up in intensive care following Saturday's incident.
He had been playing a round with three friends at the Evergreen Golf Course in Evergreen, Colorado when they were approached by an elk.
"This bull elk was just eyeing us down," Mr Bornhoft told CNN. "We were slowly going forward and he started charging at us and he missed.
"My buddy gassed it to get away and the elk gored me on my right side."
He added: "It was unbelievable. (The elk) was just freaked out and there was nothing we could do."
Mr Bornhorft was rushed back to the golf course clubhouse, where employees called an ambulance.
He was then rushed to hospital, where doctors found the elk's antler had left a five-inch gash in his side and his kidney sliced in two.
Medics said Mr Bornhoft is lucky to be alive, according to his wife Megan. "The urologist told me three inches higher and we wouldn’t even be sitting here," she told CBS.
"I’m just so thankful he’s here with us and this isn’t worse than it could have been".
Mr Bornhoft was treated at he ICU at St Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, where he was expected to make a full recovery.
Elk are often spotted on the golf course where Mr Bornhoft was gored.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information officer Jason Clay said Autumn is mating season for elk so they can be more aggresive than usual.
He warned people to keep their distance: “During the rut (mating season), the bulls collect their harems and very aggressively will defend them, so it could definitely see a golf cart or people nearby as a challenger”.
On Monday the golf course posted a warning for golfers to beware of elk on the grass.
"Just a friendly reminder to be alert of the many elk present on the golf course at this time of year. Right now, while the fall rut or mating season is going on, the elk tend to be more aggressive. Proceed with caution when around the animals and NEVER APPROACH ANY ELK!'