HAILEY — In the morning hours of Dec. 28, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers received reports from Blaine County residents about an elk calf that had become entangled in a discarded tomato cage and bucket just north of Hailey.
By mid-day, officers were able to locate the calf on the west side of Idaho Highway 75 in a grove of trees.
Knowing the calf would not be able to free itself from the metal, Fish and Game staff made the decision to dart the calf and remove the metal cage.
“Darting an animal with an anesthetizing drug is a difficult undertaking,” Senior Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford said. “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.”
In this instance, the elk was successfully anesthetized, and the metal tomato cage and plastic bucket were removed.
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“Once we removed the metal cage, we administered a second drug to reverse the effects of the first drug,” Shackelford said. “The elk quickly recovered, and within minutes was up and running.”
This is not the first time that wildlife has become entangled in items such as Christmas lights, swing sets, rope, hammocks and fence wire. Residents are encouraged to properly store risky property that could entangle wildlife.
Please report any entangled wildlife to the Magic Valley Regional Office or your local Fish and Game office. The Magic Valley Regional Office can be reached at 208-324-4359 and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Officers can also be reached after-hours or on weekends by calling the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 800-632-5999.