We love to see it. Watch as this CPW officer expertly assesses the situation before cutting an impressive bull elk free.
In their #WildlifeWednesday feature for yesterday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife‘s Northeast Region (CPW NE) puts the spotlight on one of their best officers. In his bodycam footage, we first hear the officer make gentle noise to alert the large bull to his presence. As he sets down his tools, he looks over the situation, pops his pocket knife, and gets to cutting those impressive antlers free.
It’s unclear how long this bull elk was stuck before his rescues, CPW says, but it’s clear he’s absolutely exhausted. Ample signs of struggle are present, too. His ankle and hoof are bloodly from where the thick ropes of the swing had wrapped around his hoof, and it’s clear this poor giant had tried his best to free himself before passing out.
“Come on, buddy, wake up,” the officer says quietly as he nudges the bull, but this is one exhausted elk:
“For #WildlifeWednesday, watch one of our wildlife officers rescue an elk stuck in a swing near Estes Park. He takes care to soothe the elk and carefully extract the antlers from the ropes.”CPW NE, Twitter
Eventually, the bull regains consciousness, then stands on those towering legs. He takes a moment, looks around, then walks free. And it’s fantastic to watch. Major props to this CPW officer for a model rescue.
Rescuing Bull Elk is Dangerous Business
This was no menial task, either, even for an expert. Bull elk (males) grow to imposing size. Depending on age, genetics, and nutrition, bulls typically range in weight from around 500 to 800 pounds in Colorado. Individuals push and can even exceed 1,000 pounds, however.
Their antlers are also among some of the most impressive and massive on the planet. The largest racks measure up to 6 feet in length and weigh over 40 pounds. In short, this isn’t an animal you want to walk up on or surprise in any way.
Despite this size and relative strength, bull elk are still vulnerable to threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, and climate change. CPW Conservation efforts are ongoing in Colorado and elsewhere to protect these majestic animals and their habitat, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy seeing them in the wild.
It wasn’t long ago that these beautiful beasts, the wapiti, were almost extirpated from North America entirely by over-hunting and habitat loss, after all.
This is especially true down here in the Smokies, where elk were completely extirpated in the 20th century. 21st century elk reintroduction to Great Smoky Mountains holds its challenged as a result.
For more on this, see our previous bull elk coverage here.