Monday, January 20, 2020
Elk Calf Gets a Jump on Gardening
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This elk calf was found with a tomato cage and bucket entangled around its neck.
 
Thursday, January 2, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY IDAHO FISH AND GAME

It’s not uncommon to hear of folks around here trading in their nighttime reading for gardening catalogs come February.

But one elk calf really got a jump on the summer gardening season.

 
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The elk calf recovered from anesthesia after the garden materials were removed.
 

Idaho Fish and Game officers rescued the elk calf after receiving numerous reports that it was wandering around wearing a tomato cage and bucket over its head.

The officers found it north of Hailey on the west side of Highway 75 in a grove of trees. Knowing the calf would not be able to free itself, officers decided to dart the calf. They tranquilized it, and removed the metal cage and bucket.

Once the metal cage was removed, officers administered a second drug to reverse the effects of the first drug. As the anesthesia wore off, the elk quickly recovered. And within minutes officers were able to set it free, watching as it ran off to return to its herd.

Hopefully, the elk calf can abide cabin fever a little while longer before it tries its hooves at gardening.

Darting an animal with an anesthetizing drug is a difficult undertaking, said Senior Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford.

“We can never be sure how much stress the animal has been in prior to darting or how each animal will react to the drugs. More importantly, handling these drugs—often in extreme conditions—can place Fish and Game officers at risk, too,” he said.

If you see elk running around with discarded tomato buckets on their head or Christmas lights decking their antlers, as happened a couple years ago, call the Magic Valley Regional office of Idaho Fish and Game at 208-324-4359. Call Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999 after hours or on weekends.

 

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