Elk NetworkBull Elk Freed from Telecommunications Cable

General | September 17, 2020

Below is a Facebook post from Alberta (Canada) Fish and Wildlife Enforcement.

On the morning of September 7, 2020, Grande Prairie Fish and Wildlife officers received a report of a bull elk with a very long cord wrapped up in its antlers.  The elk was dragging several hundred feet of the wire, as it tried to escape and cross a range road under construction.  The hunter that reported the incident was concerned for both the animal and the travelers along the road.  When officers arrived on scene, they witnessed the large bull elk bucking and trying to shake off a very strong telecommunications cable in a wheat field.

As the officer headed into the field to release the elk, he had to develop a plan on the spot. He needed to find a way to safely bring the elk closer into the range of the tranquilizer gun, so he can immobilize and free it from its bonds. With what can only be described as a combination of rodeo roping and deep sea fishing techniques, the officer used the cable to control and reel the elk out of the wheat field, and once it was within range, the officer quickly immobilized the elk and removed the cable from its antlers.

The officer also removed the antlers, so the elk would not be harvested, allowing the immobilizing drugs to leave its system. In just over an hour from the officer arriving at the scene, the elk was released and last observed heading south.

When officers immobilize wildlife, they are marked with a tag advising hunters that the meat of the animal should not be consumed. If hunters harvest a tagged animal, they are advised to contact their local fish and wildlife office.

Being handled by humans is extremely stressful for wildlife. Even if your intention is to help, your attempts may actually harm wildlife and put yourself and others at risk. If you see wildlife in distress, call the nearest Fish and Wildlife office for advice or contact the 24 hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

(Photo source: Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement)