We have elk at the back of our land here. Regularly they tear down a fence as they have a route they are familiar with and if a fence is in their way, well it's not like they don't know how to fix that. Back there, I've watched them gambol far below me, jumping in and out of pools of water, but only when I didn't have a camera with me.
there are three visible in this photo if you enlarge and look carefully
I had a friend in college who had grown up in the Coast Range and told of being treed by the elk. They are big animals and definitely do have the ability to hurt a person if they were so inclined. Generally they run.
The photos below were taken March 13th of a good sized herd we lucked upon while in Cascade Head Preserve down on the Coast. These animals are not fenced; they are wild. This was in a mountain and riparian zone being restored to a natural wetland, much of which is now owned by Nature Conservancy, not that this elk herd probably ever paid much attention to that. This is their home range, and they know who the intruders are. This is the season where the bulls will have dropped their antlers; so you can only tell the males by body type-- that is unless you get a lot closer than we were (all photos taken with telephoto).
I didn't count but I think this time we took over fifty photos of what looked like fifty elk. Someday I should put my elk photos into an album so that other elk lovers can enjoy them all. Someday is a long way off as I have work to do from being gone.