9:24 AM PDT, October 12, 2021
The 4-year-old, 600-pound bull elk was spotted and tranquilized on Saturday, and officers were able to cut off the tire, but they had to cut off the elk’s antlers to remove it, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“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,” officer Scott Murdoch told the station.
The tire and the debris that had gathered inside weighed around 35 pounds. The elk was first spotted wearing the tire in 2019.
“The tire was full of wet pine needles and dirt,” Murdoch said. “So the pine needles, dirt and other debris basically filled the entire bottom half of the tire. There was probably 10 pounds of debris in the tire.”
The team had made several attempts to tranquilize the animal in the past week with no success.
“It was not until shortly before dark that everything came together and I was able to hit the bull with the dart,” Dawson said, according to a CPW press release. “Once the bull was hit with the dart, the entire herd headed back into the thick timber.”
The elk’s neck was fine after the tire and antlers were removed.