One unlucky elk in Evergreen, Colorado had a run-in with a volleyball net. It tangled in his antlers and he got away but the net came with him. It was tangled together and hanging over his face. Scott Murdoch, an officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), managed to catch up with the young bull on Monday morning and give him the helping human hand he needed to escape his torment.
Murdoch tranquilized the animal so that he could approach safely. The net had become tangled around the base of the antlers, so it was not possible to simply untangled the net to get him free. The officer had to cut off one of the young elk's three-point antlers instead.
CPW released photos of the incident on Twitter. His fellow elk did not seem perturbed by his new look but the animal can become panicked trying to disentangle itself and either hang itself or hurt humans who want to help and may try to approach. It is always best to call your local department of wildlife or game to report the animal instead of trying to approach it. You can also call your local police department.
The best idea is for residents in areas with elk, deer, or moose to keep sporting equipment and yard toys stored away when not in use. How many people really need to have their volleyball net up in winter? Items such as volleyball nets, hammocks, flare parachutes, soccer nets, and tarps have been known to end up tangled in the antlers of these majestic animals. Other seemingly innocuous items such as buckets and basketballs have also caused antler trouble.
This is a great opportunity to remind all of us to be careful with items that we think nothing of leaving outside can cause huge problems for wildlife. I had a simple arch in my garden for growing clematis on and it was destroyed when a panicked deer came charging through that space unaware of it. What could I have done better? I could have not put up the arch right along a known animal trail. Fortunately the deer was only spooked and not hurt.
Please be vigilant of hazards you might be putting in the way of wildlife.
Photos by CPW, Images via 4CBS