Elk gores man on Evergreen Golf Course; golfer suffers lacerated kidney

A man gored by an elk on a golf course in Evergreen over the weekend was taken to a local hospital where doctors determined his kidney had been cut.

Zak Bornhoft, of Aurora, was golfing Saturday evening at Evergreen Golf Course, where more than an estimated 100 elk were spending the day.

Bornhoft said he never “felt threatened” by the elk, keeping a distance of at least 20 feet, until he finished up the 16th hole.

Teeing off on the 17th hole, elk surrounded the golfers, he said on Facebook. Bornhoft gave the Post permission to use material from his Facebook page.

“We took it slow to get out of the way, however this bull elk was eyeing us down,” Bornhoft said.

Bornhoft’s golfing party tried to “slowly” get out of the area, but the bull charged his golf cart. The bull missed the front-end of the cart on the initial charge, and “we sped off to get away.”

That’s when the bull charged again, “striking the side of the golf cart where his antlers went directly into my side of the golf cart and one antler just happened to gore me,” he said.

Bornhoft’s left kidney was lacerated, but he expects to make a full recovery.

Large numbers of elk typically visit the Evergreen course, Denver’s signature mountain course at 7,220-feet in elevation along Bear Creek, where golf course staffers and Denver park rangers sometimes advise golfers to skip certain holes because of wildlife, said Cindy Karvaski, a Denver parks spokeswoman.

Signage on the course also warns golfers about playing through and around wildlife, Karvaski said.

“They are there all the time,” Karvaski said of the elk. Autumn can present heightened safety concerns when bull elk are rutting and establishing dominance over a harem.

“These are wild animals, even on a golf course,” Karvaski said. “They can be extremely aggressive.”

Staff at the Evergreen course doesn’t recall a wildlife attack on the links going back at least about 15 years, Karvaski said.

Bornhoft said Tuesday that he never got close to the elk or attempted to interact with animals in anyway, other than to take cellphone photos from a safe and respectable distance.

He looks forward to recovery and would like to golf Evergreen again: “But not for revenge!” Bornhoft said in a text message.

“I’ll be devastated if I can’t swing a club again.”

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