Story at a glance

  • A Colorado bull elk spent two years with a tire around its neck.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife were finally able to track down the elk and remove the tire on Saturday.
  • The tire had been filled with close to 10 lbs. of pine needles and debris.

An elk in Colorado is finally free after having had a car tire stuck around its neck for two years.

Since first receiving reports of an elk with a tire around its neck in July 2019 in Pine, Colo., officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) have attempted to tranquilize the 4-year-old bull elk four previous times to they could remove the tire, but they had been unsuccessful until Saturday.

“I am just grateful to be able to work in a community that values [our] state’s wildlife resource,” office Dawson Swanson said in a press release. “I was able to quickly respond to a report from a local resident regarding a recent sighting of this bull elk in their neighborhood. I was able to locate the bull in question along with a herd of about 40 other elk.”


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Once sedated, Swanson and fellow officer Scott Murdoch were forced to cut off the bull elk’s antlers in order to free it from the tire.

“It was not easy for sure, we had to move it just right to get it off because we weren’t able to cut the steel in the bead of the tire. Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move,” Murdoch said. “We would have preferred to cut the tire and leave the antlers for his rutting activity, but the situation was dynamic and we had to just get the tire off in any way possible.”

Despite having the tire chafing against its neck for two years filled with close to 10 lbs. of pine needles and debris, the elk was in good condition and back on its feet minutes after the tire was removed and a reversal was administered to wake it from its sedation.

CPW encourages people who encounter wildlife entangled or stuck within debris to alert wildlife officials immediately, who will then safely intervene. 


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Published on Oct 12, 2021