So, what’s a sure sign that big game animals are approaching their breeding season? A deer scrape? Bugling elk? How about a bull elk getting tangled up while sparring with a backyard swing set, and a bull moose wearing a volleyball net?
Wildlife authorities in Estes Park, Colorado had to tranquilize a 5x5 elk yesterday after the animal tried to do battle with a heavy wooden recreation set. In the process, its rack became inextricably entangled in a swing chain.
After a two-hour struggle in which the bull toppled the 400-pound structure and dragged it at least 25 feet, a Colorado Department of Wildlife agent and a veterinarian were able to subdue the beast and free it to pursue other adversaries—hopefully those of the antlered variety.
Also this week, Wyoming game wardens were called to a campground in the Big Horn Mountains, where a bull moose had become entangled in a volleyball net, effectively blinding the 800-pound animal.
Warden Tim Thomas and partner Alan Osterland said the moose was apparently attempting to leave a love calling card on a pole holding the net when he became "caught up" in the moment, so to speak.
The two men darted the bull and carefully removed the netting before administering antibiotics and watching the big boy wander back into the mountains.
Thomas said he’s seen this kind of rut-induced activity in the past, telling the Casper Star-Tribune it was the second time he’s removed a volleyball net from a moose’s head. In fact, he admitted his office is decorated with a string of Christmas tree lights he once took off the rack of a wayward mule deer.
“We see this kind of thing on a yearly basis,” he said. “(It) was just another day of work for us."