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Bull elk dies after getting entangled in backyard item

The bull elk was strangled by the backyard item in the Wood River Valley. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game asks residents to remove outdoor hanging items.
Credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG)

BOISE, Idaho — A bull elk recently died in the Wood River Valley after getting entangled in a hanging backyard item, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) reported.

According to fish and game, its personnel receives "numerous reports" each year about entangled wildlife in the Gem State. The bull elk was strangled by the item, which is an avoidable scenario with proper winterization of homes.

Wildlife such as deer, elk and moose are especially at risk of becoming entangled with items due to their antlers. IDFG asks residents to inspect their property for any hanging or unsafe items, such as swings, hammocks, wires and strings of lights. 

IDFG said another bull elk recently came close to drowning in the Big Wood River after it became entangled in a backyard hammock. 

Credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG)

When the animal is tied up, they may choke. Fish and game said wildlife is also at risk of exhaustion or injury from an attempt to get free. 

The resident also can be "easily" injured by the animal if they attempt to free it from the item, according to IDFG's news release. Usually, wildlife must be freed from entanglements with an anesthetizing dart. 

Wildlife officials said the solution "has many inherent risks, both to the animal but also to the Fish and Game team responsible for dealing with the entangled animal."

"We want everyone who might have deer, elk or moose living near their neighborhoods to take a walk through their yards and look for things that can entangle wildlife," Senior Conservation Officer in the Wood River Valley, Brandyn Hurd said. "Meaning, all backyard furniture and playground equipment needs to be removed and secured during the winter months. Wildlife can easily get entangled in this equipment which puts the animal at risk, but it also puts our Fish and Game team at risk when using drugs to anesthetize the animal and working to free them from backyard equipment.”

For more information on winterizing your yard in Idaho, click here.

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