Elk finally gets rid of tire necklace after two years, thanks to Colorado wildlife officers

Pine, Colorado - A Colorado elk has been freed of a tire hanging around its neck after at least two years, the state parks service said Monday.

The elk had been caught on trail cameras multiple times over the past two years.
The elk had been caught on trail cameras multiple times over the past two years.  © Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Rangers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch had to tranquilize the bull elk and cut off its antlers on Saturday night to get the tire off.

The elk, which is about four and a half years old and weighs over 600 pounds, had to be coaxed out of a herd of about 40 animals and stunned before the rangers could start the attempt, which was their fourth try in several weeks.

They first spotted the bull elk with a tire around his neck in July 2019.

The rangers estimated the antlers and the tire to weigh around 35 pounds.

Murdoch said they would have preferred to cut the tire and maintain the antlers for the elk's rutting activities, but it was not possible to cut the steel in the tire.

There was a small wound under the tire and the animal's hair was partly rubbed off, he said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the elk must have got the tire around its neck when it was a calf and had no antlers or during winter when bull elks shed their antlers.

Elk can weigh over 900 pounds and their antlers reach up to 5 feet in length, weighing as much as 30 pounds.

The antlers, which are made of bone, are shed every year starting in February and then grow again until late summer to show the strength and health of the elk at rutting time in autumn.

Cover photo: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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