Wildlife officers in Colorado finally were able to free a bull elk that was spotted wandering with a tire around its neck for at least two years.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the elk was spotted south of Pine Junction on Saturday, and officers responded to search the area. The agency said it was the fourth time in the past week that officers attempted to locate and tranquilize the elk.
Wildlife officers Scott Murdoch and Dawson Swanson successfully tranquilized the animal and cut through its antlers so the tire could be lifted off of the 600-pound elk’s head.
“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said in a CPW news release. “It was not easy for sure, 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.”
Murdoch said the decision was made to cut through the elk’s antlers when the officers discovered they wouldn’t be able to cut through tire.
“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,” he said.
Parks and Wildlife said the 4 1/2-year-old elk first had been spotted with the tire around its neck about two years earlier. Officials said numerous attempts were made to locate the elk to remove the tire, but officers were unsuccessful until the latest outing.
The elk was released at the scene, minus about 35 pounds of tire and debris.