DENVER – A bull elk who had a tire around its neck for more than two years was freed from it by wildlife officers Saturday evening, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a news release Monday.
CPW officers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch tranquilized the bull and had to cut off its antlers to remove the tire, CPW spokesman Jason Clay said. It happened at around 8 p.m. about a mile south of Pine Junction on private property off of County Road 126.
Wildlife officers aged the bull as a 4-and-a-half-year-old. It weighed over 600 pounds and had five points on each of its antler beams, CPW officers said.
“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said of pulling the tire off the bull’s neck, even after cutting its antlers off. “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.”
Wildlife officers said the hair on the bull elk was rubbed off a little bit and that it had an open wound about the size of the nickel or quarter but looked good otherwise.
Clay said Saturday’s successful attempt to remove the tire from the bull elk’s neck was the fourth attempt by wildlife officers to remove the intrusive object. The first time CPW was aware of the problem was in July 2019, when wildlife officers spotted the bull in the Mount Evans Wilderness.
CPW reminds residents to live responsibly with wildlife in mind. In the past, wildlife officers have found deer, elk, moose, bears and other wildlife entangled in swing sets, hammocks, clothing lines, decorative or holiday lighting, furniture, tomato cages, chicken feeders, laundry baskets, soccer goals, volleyball nets and tires.
CPW recommends that if you see wildlife entangled in something or with debris wrapped around it, that you report it immediately to wildlife officials. That can be accomplished by calling CPW’s Denver office at 303-291-7227.