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Bull Elk Suffers a Quick Mood Swing After Run-In
Conservation officer Brandyn Hurd pulls a swing off the bull elk.
Thursday, January 14, 2021



Note to bull elk: Chances are you’re not going to have a swinging good time if you try a backyard swing on for size.

A bull elk caught his antlers in a backyard swing that was attached to a tree in the backyard of a Gimlet home south of Ketchum Monday morning.

The bull elk may have challenged the swing to a little rutting game, but the aftermath looks as if it left him pretty miserable.

By the time Idaho Fish and Game officers arrived at the residence south of Ketchum, the elk had broken free of the tree but the wooden seat of the swing and several feet of rope remained caught in his antlers.

The only course of action was to anesthetize the elk using a dart to free him of the swing, said Terry Thompson. The dart went in and the operation went smoothly with the elk able to gallop off into the woods.

Apparently, this bull elk has a short memory span. This is the same bull elk that became entangled in a large hammock, according to Senior Conservation Officer Brandyn Hurd, who was involved in Monday’s rescue.

That episode nearly took the elk’s life when he went into the Big Wood River and the hammock became water soaked, weighing him down and nearly drowning him.

Wildlife Biologist Jake Powell administers a reversal drug to the bull elk after darting it to remove a swing from its antlers.

The bull elk was given a green ear tag on that occasion that noted his tango with the hammock in October.

“All backyard furniture and playground equipment needs to be removed and secured during the winter months,” said Hurd. “Wildlife can easily get entangled in this equipment which puts the animal at risk, but it also puts the Fish and Game team at risk when using drugs to anesthetize the animal and working to free them from backyard equipment.”

Fish and Game officers encourage residents to inspect their yards for items that can ensnare wildlife and put them away in a garage or other secure storage area.

Big game animals like deer, elk and moose are especially susceptible to entanglement in ropes, swings, wires, cords and strings of lights because of their large antlers, said Thompson. Entangled wildlife can sometimes asphyxiate, die from exhaustion or injure themselves in an effort to get free.

For more information about how to keep your yard safe for wildlife, contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359.


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