In July of 2019, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials became aware of a young bull elk that had a tire wrapped around its neck. More than 2-years later, officials were finally able to remove it.
The 600-pound elk is reportedly about 4.5-years old now, meaning it has spent almost half of its life with its head wedged through that tire. Since the initial sighting, the easily identifiable elk has been spotted several other times over the years. In 2020 the elk was photographed by trail cameras on three separate occasions.
Scott Murdoch, a wildlife officer with CPW, said in a press release that the elk lived in an extremely rugged part of the state, which made it difficult to track down and help.
“Being up in the wilderness, we didn’t really expect to be able to get our hands on the elk just because of the proximity or the distance away from civilization. It is harder to get the further they are back in there.”
State wildlife officials attempted to catch the elk on several occasions back in May and June of this year, but no luck. Finally, on Saturday, after four unsuccessful attempts to tranquilize the elk earlier in the week, they were finally able to subdue the elk and remove the tire.
After Officer Murdoch and his colleague Danson Swanson successfully tranquilized the elk, they had to cut its antlers off to slide the tire free from its neck. The two men first tried to cut through the tire at first, but with no luck.
“It was tight removing it. It was not easy for sure, and we had to move it just right to get it off because we weren’t able to cut the steel in the bead of the tire. Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move.”
Making the situation even more challenging is that the tire was stuffed full of about 10-pounds of debris like pine needles and dirt. With the combined weight of the tire and the antlers being removed, the elk lost about 35 pounds in just one day.
Despite lugging around the 10-pound tire for such a long time, the elk appeared to be in good overall health.
“The hair was rubbed off a little bit. There was one small open wound, maybe the size of a nickel or quarter, but other than that, it looked really good. I was quite shocked to see how good it looked.”
The wildlife officers also said this incident is an excellent reminder to keep your yards free of items that could be potentially hazardous to wildlife when you’re not actively using them.
“Wildlife officers have seen deer, elk, moose, bears, and other wildlife become entangled in a number of man-made obstacles that include swing sets, hammocks, clothing lines, decorative or holiday lighting, furniture, tomato cages, chicken feeders, laundry baskets, soccer goals or volleyball nets, and yes, tires.”
“The saga of the bull elk with a tire around its neck is over.
An elk with a tire around its neck for at least the last two years was finally freed of the obstacle Saturday evening when Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were able to tranquilize the bull and remove the tire.
Thank you to the residents who reported the elk’s location and helped make this work possible. Photos courtesy of Pat Hemstreet.”
The saga of the bull elk with a tire around its neck is over. An elk with a tire around its neck for at least the last two years was finally freed of the obstacle Saturday evening when Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were able to tranquilize the bull and remove the tire. Thank you to the residents who reported the elk's location and helped make this work possible. Photos courtesy of Pat Hemstreet.Learn more: https://bit.ly/3uZWs57