South Summit Fire District rescues baby elk trapped in a fence
On Sunday afternoon, an Oakley farmer discovered a yearling elk in distress and weakened after hours of her hoof being stuck in his gate.
South Summit Fire District Captain Tyler Lewis said an Oakley farmer called dispatch to report a young elk trapped in his fence. When emergency responders arrived, the female yearling was in a contorted position with her hoof caught between two steel bars of a gate.
“When we arrived, we tried to use a jack to jack the panels up, and that didn't help it it is just making it tighter, so we had one of our engines come over, and when they arrived, we used what we call the jaws of life that we cut people out of cars with. We used the spreader on that and just spread the two panels apart, and we were able to spread it far enough. We just pushed her leg out, and she jumped right up.”
Lewis noted that the young elk was in poor condition when she was finally freed. She had been trapped overnight. The elk herd in the area had been feeding on the Oakley farmer’s hay stored for his horses.
“Yeah. She was pretty weak. Once we finally got her to stand up, she tried to butt me with her head, and she didn't have enough strength that I could put my hand on her head so she couldn't hit me. She didn't have enough strength to push me anywhere.”
During the extraction, Lewis said the yearling was calm and quiet, but then leaped up when she was freed.
The elk had scraped some fur from her leg, but nothing was dislocated or broken. She also had a cut on her eye that was bleeding a little. Kamas Police, Summit County Animal Control, and the South Summit Fire Department responders watched the yearling for a while to make sure she was okay. She spent a few minutes getting her bearings before running off to join the herd grazing on a nearby hillside. Lewis said by then, she was walking normally, putting total weight on her shoulder and leg.
Images of the elk rescue are online at KPCW.org.