Elk Has to Have Antlers Removed After Getting Stuck in Baby Swing

A young bull elk wandering around with a child's swing tangled in its antlers was freed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials Monday morning, and its "non-typical antlers" were removed.

Jason Clay, the public information officer for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region told Newsweek the elk had the child's swing on it for at least three days. Officials first received reports about the elk on October 23.

He said there were two main reasons that officials removed the elk's antlers.

"For the safety of the wildlife officer as he worked to free the animal from the child's swing and to also deter a hunter from harvesting that animal since we are in hunting season," Clay explained.

He continued and said that hunters should avoid harvesting this elk because the meat of the animal should not be consumed for two weeks after it was tranquilized.

"We do not want any harvested animal's meat to go to waste if someone took it during a hunting season and then would not be able to consume it," Clay said.

Elk
Officials in Colorado tranquilized and removed an elk's antlers to free the animal from a baby swing it was tangled in. Here, an immature elk is pictured eating grass in Rocky Mountain National Park. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

He also said that the elk could have woken up at any point after being sedated for the procedure. Due to the elk's large size and the potential for a serious injury inflicted to a wildlife officer, the safest avenue was to remove the antlers.

Clay said removing the antlers does not harm the animal. Elk shed their antlers on an annual basis and grow a new pair of antlers the following year.

There are a few reasons behind "non-typical antlers." One of the most common reasons that Clay pointed out occurs when the buck or bull damages the pedicle or base where the antlers grow.

"It often happens at an early age or right after the animal has shed its antlers in the spring," he said. "If a buck or bull has a damaged pedicle, the animal will likely have non-typical antlers every year."

It may also happen to elk whose antlers are in the "velvet stage." Clay said the velvet protects the developing hardened antler, but if the velvet is damaged, the bull or buck will grow non-typical antler that season. If the velvet is unharmed after the elk sheds the antlers, they'll be able to grow normally the next year.

In an effort to curb the number of big-game animals getting tangled up in items, officials urged residents to remove certain items from their yards that may pose an issue.

(1/6) Thanks to a timely report from a resident, wildlife officer Scott Murdoch was able to respond and remove this child's swing that this young bull elk had become entangled in. This happened Monday morning in Indian Hills off of Parmalee Gulch Road.

A thread... pic.twitter.com/JcVWcG8CC0

— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 25, 2021

They said wildlife have been caught up in hammocks, soccer goals, volleyball nets, holiday lights and tires.

Earlier this month, Newsweek reported that a wild elk in Colorado was freed from a car tire after living with it around its neck for at least two years.

Though the elk was spotted a few times over the years, it wasn't until recently that officials were able to tranquilize it and remove the tire from the animal's neck. This elk also had to have its antlers removed.

When the tire was taken off, officials reversed the animal's sedation and it was released.