The elk rut is either here or is rapidly approaching in many parts of the country. Frustrated bulls hopped up on testosterone are taking their frustrations out on trees, telephone poles, and whatever else happens to get in their way. It's a behavior that leads some bulls into trouble every year and the famous Estes Park, Colorado elk herd has already seen their first instance of that this season. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department reported that officers were dispatched to a call about an elk stuck in an intersection last week. The officers found the bull stuck between Highway 7 and Highway 36, and it was tangled in at least 30 feet of wire fencing.
The CPW officers were soon joined by Estes Park Police, and they managed to stop traffic through the area while they convinced the bull to leave the intersection. Once in a safe area, CPW tranquilized the bull. From there, two CPW officers and an Estes Park Police officer cut the bull free from the wires in less than 30 seconds. That part of the rescue was filmed and posted to CPW's Facebook page.
There is little doubt this bull would not have gotten free on his own. While wildlife officials would probably like to avoid tranquilizing an animal whenever possible, it would have been too dangerous to attempt that here. For both the human rescuers and the animal. Fortunately, CPW says they observed no serious injuries to the animal. The bull was exhausted after his ordeal but is expected to recover.
This incident serves as another reminder about how fencing has been causing problems for elk and other wildlife in the west. Fortunately for this bull, he was caught in an urban area and was easily rescued. Animals in the backcountry haven't been as lucky in the past. CPW thanked the resident for reporting the animal in distress.
"We were grateful for the opportunity to free the elk of fencing on its antlers and remove it from the dangerous intersection," CPW District Wildlife Manager Clayton Brossart said in a press release. "We also want to thank the local residents who reported this to us immediately, so we were able to have a quick response and free the elk without it sustaining any serious injury."
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