Unlucky Elk Gets Antlers Ensnared In Netting

Oct 2, 2019

An elk with netting tangled in its antlers has caught the attention of Estes Park residents and social media. But local wildlife officials are hesitant to intervene.

On Monday, bystanders captured video of the elk with a mass of plastic netting caught in its antlers. Jason Clay with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said his office started receiving several calls from people who were concerned about the animal. But Clay said that for now, it’s best to leave the animal alone.

“This elk is still mobile. It’s able to get around. It’s not getting caught up on anything,” he said. “It’s able to eat and that’s the best case.”

Clay said untangling the netting would require sedating the elk, which is risky for both wildlife officers and the animal. Another risk is the timing. Clay said male elk are currently fighting each other for mating privileges. And he said releasing a groggy animal back into the wild would leave it vulnerable to attacks.

Additionally, Clay said untangling the netting might require removing the antlers altogether.

Clay said officers will keep an eye on the elk as he wanders throughout the area. Clay added the incident should serve as a reminder that during breeding season, residents should take down the volleyball and soccer nets in their yards.

Last week in Evergreen, another elk became ensnared in a soccer net and had to be cut free.