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Elk calf freed from discarded tomato cage and bucket


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An elk calf became entangled in a tomato cage and bucket Dec. 28 near Hailey, Idaho. | Photo: Idaho Fish and Game

HAILEY — An elk calf was freed by Idaho Fish and Game officers after becoming entangled in a tomato cage and bucket.

Authorities received reports Dec. 28 from several people in Blaine County who reported seeing the elk. Officers were able to locate the calf on the west side of Highway 75 in a grove of trees.

The animal was unable to free itself from the metal, so officials decided to dart the calf.

“Darting an animal with an anesthetizing drug is a difficult undertaking,” Senior Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford said in a news release. “We can never be sure how much stress the animal has been in prior to darting or how each animal will react to the drugs. And more importantly, handling these drugs, often in extreme conditions, can place the Fish and Game officers at risk too.”

Photo: Idaho Fish and Game

The elk was successfully anesthetized and the metal tomato cage, along with the plastic bucket, were removed. A second drug was administered to reverse the effects of the dart and Shackelford said within minutes, the elk was up and running.

Fish and Game staff report wildlife often become entangled in things such as Christmas lights, swing sets, rope, hammocks and fence wire. Residents are encouraged to properly store their items so animals can’t get into trouble.