Rescue
Giant elk freed from tire stuck around its neck for years
The only way rescuers could free him was to remove his antlers.
D.G. Sciortino
10.20.21

It took two years before a Colorado elk was freed from a rubber tire that was stuck around his neck.

But thanks to officers of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, he was finally freed.

The bull elk had first been spotted with a tire stuck around his neck back in 2019 but Colorado Parks and Wildlife were never able to capture him.

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Inside Edition - YouTube

That chase ended about a week ago when he was spotted in the Pine Junction area.

The animal was tranquilized with a dart and Colorado Parks and Wildlife was able to remove the tire.

Unfortunately, they had to remove the elk’s antlers as well because of a steel band in the tire that prevented them from cutting through it.

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Inside Edition - YouTube

“It was tight removing it [the tire],” Scott Murdoch, a wildlife officer at CPW who aided in the operation, said in a CPW statement. “It was not easy for sure. “We would have preferred to cut the tire and leave the antlers for his rutting activity, but the situation was dynamic and we had to just get the tire off in any way possible.”

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Inside Edition - YouTube

Males grow new antlers every year before breeding season.

So, that may mean that this elk is going to be single for the rest of the year, but he’ll get another chance at love next year.

The elk is believed to be about 4.5 years and weighs 600 lbs.

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Inside Edition - YouTube

It is also believed that the elk probably got stuck in the tire when he was young before he had antlers or during the winter after he shed them.

Earlier this year in May and June, there had been about four attempts to catch the elk when he was spotted in Confier about 8 miles north of Pine.

However, Colorado Parks and Wildlife couldn’t get a clean shot on him with the dart gun.

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Inside Edition - YouTube

The sightings picked up again in September and early October because of the rutting season.

“They just walk around, eat and mate,” Patrick Hemstreet, who found the elk in his backyard, told New York Times. “He always sticks out. He is big.”

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Inside Edition - YouTube

The elk was also spotted three times on camera traps in 2020 but the Colorado Parks and Wildlife could never find him.

He didn’t seem too bothered by the tire in the videos.

Live Science surmises that the elk put his head in a tall stack of tires and accidentally picked one up.

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Inside Edition - YouTube

The elk did lose about 35 pounds after losing its antlers and tire.

The tire was full of pine needles and dirt which made it heavier.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife found that the elk was in good health after his tire was removed.

Inside Edition - YouTube
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Inside Edition - YouTube

“The hair was rubbed off a little bit, and there was one small open wound maybe the size of a nickel or quarter, but other than that it looked really good,” Murdoch said. “I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”

Watch the unique rescue in the video below!

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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