Elk NetworkElk Calf Freed from Tomato Cage

General | January 10, 2020

It was a most unusual sight. An elk calf had its head entangled in a discarded tomato cage with a large bucket still attached to it.

Conservation officers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) located the animal in a stand of trees near the small town of Hailey in central Idaho about halfway between Boise and Idaho Falls. They decided the best way to remove the cage was to dart the calf.

“Darting an animal with an anesthetizing drug is a difficult undertaking. 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,” said Clark Shackelford, IDFG senior conservation officer. “And more importantly, handling these drugs, often in extreme conditions, can place the Fish and Game officers at risk too.”

All went well as officers successfully removed the cage, bucket and applied a second drug to reduce effects of the first. The elk quickly recovered and scampered off.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)