CPW Wildlife Officers Rescue Bull Elk From a Highway Near Estes Park, Remove Fencing Tangled in Antlers

This bull elk had fencing entangled in its antlers and got stuck in the middle of a busy highway on Tuesday morning.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers rescued a bull elk stuck in the middle of a busy intersection between Highway 7 and Highway 36 near Estes Park and were able to remove 30 feet of burdensome fencing tangled in its antlers.  

A local resident reported seeing the bull elk with fencing caught in its antlers on the highway. CPW wildlife officers arrived on the scene and were assisted by the Estes Park Police Department unit to stop traffic and help assist the animal out of the intersection. 

A CPW wildlife officer tranquilized the bull elk so it could be freed of the fencing entanglement and released outside of the intersection to its natural habitat. The fencing was removed and, after receiving a reversal agent to wake it from the sedation, it ran off.

[WATCH] video of the rescue effort

Wildlife officers did not observe any serious injuries and, other than being exhausted, they believe the elk will have a full recovery. 

“Land managers rope off areas to try to prevent elk from damaging them,” said District Wildlife Manager Clayton Brossart. “It is an aspect of the landscape and shows the intersection of humans and wildlife in our urban interface. We were grateful for the opportunity to free the elk of the fencing on its antlers and remove it from the dangerous intersection. We also want to thank the local residents who reported this to us immediately, so we were able to have a quick response and freed the elk without it sustaining any serious injury.” 

CPW is in the midst of a five-year study to better understand elk movements and land use in Colorado. Results will help inform wildlife managers of possible management strategies related to herd management plan objectives and habitat use.

To learn more about CPW’s study of this Clear Creek elk herd, watch the video on the study.

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