YouTuber Vince M.Camiolo, who filmed the video, explained:
While photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park I turned around to see what appeared to be just a curious young bull sniffing a photographer's camera. I snapped a few frames of the apparent harmless encounter. But the elk became more interested in making trouble than simply the scent of a camera... I quickly switched the camera to video and let it roll (much of the time wondering when I should seriously consider intervening)."
Most people who see this ask why the photographer seems to just take the abuse. Camiolo says that he asked him in an email what was going through his head. This is his response:
My first thoughts were "wow, he's getting pretty damn close here." But I've been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring. I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off. That's when I wagged my finger at him to cut that shit out. I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.
So I guess at some point if the Ranger hadn't of pulled up, I would have had to disengage the best I could. I've joked with my friends that at least he took me for a buck and not a cow!"
(H/T: Vince M. Camiolo)