Two bull elk locked antlers in a mating-season battle in western Colorado, got tangled in a nest of barbed wire and died trying to yank free, wildlife officials said.The elk were found Monday outside Glenwood Springs, snared in a section of barbed-wire fence with a fence post they uprooted."The way they were wrapped up, it looked like they started sparring through a fence and just got caught up in the barbed wire," Colorado Division of Wildlife area manager Perry Will told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in Wednesday's editions. "It was as bad as I've ever seen," he said. Will said the elk probably died of exhaustion trying to pull themselves free. "They beat each other up pretty good in the process," he said. It's common to see elk or deer with fence wire caught in their antlers, or two males unable to break free when they lock antlers in a fight, Will said, "but I've never seen two bulls get locked up with wire like that." A resident called the DOW to report that two elk were struggling to get free. By the time wildlife officers arrived, both animals were dead, the DOW said. The DOW recommends that fences be no more than 42 inches high so large wildlife can get over them, but height wasn't a factor in this instance, Will said. "There really wasn't much that could have been done to prevent this," he said. "Fences are a hazard to wildlife in general, but this kind of thing doesn't happen often."A DOW spokesman didn't immediately return a call Wednesday from 7NEWS.