Colorado Elk With Tire Around Its Neck For 2 Years Freed

Colorado Elk With Tire Around Its Neck For 2 Years Freed PINE, CO — A 4-year-old bull elk is certainly breathing easier after wildlife officials cut free a car tire stuck around its neck for at least two years.

The 600-pound bull was spotted Saturday around 8 p.m. on private property off County Road 126, about 1 mile south of Pine Junction.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch arrived and tranquilized the elk to cut the tire free. They said they were forced to cut off the animal’s five-point antlers because they couldn’t cut the steel bead in the tire.

“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said in a statement. “It was not easy for sure, we had to move it just right to get it off … Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move.

“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.”

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers Scott Murdoch (left) and Dawson Swanson hold up the tire they cut off after it got stuck around an elk’s neck for two years. (Pat Hemstreet)
They said the field surgery went well.

“The hair was rubbed off a little bit, there was one small open wound maybe the size of a nickel or quarter, but other than that it looked really good,” Murdoch said. “I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”

Murdoch said the tire was full of wet pine needles, dirt and debris — about 10 pounds total.

State wildlife officials said the elk’s ordeal should serve as a reminder not to litter. They said anyone who sees an animal in distress or in a similar situation should call the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Denver office at 303-291-7227.

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