Wapiti War: Game & Fish help out two sparring bulls

WYOMING – When Yellowstone tourists aren’t getting in their way, bull elk actually do spar with each other for the right to breed.

Wapiti are a bit testy when they’re in the rut. They usually work out an arrangement when it comes to who gets what cows. Bigger, badder bulls can often get a challenger to back down without too much antler play.

But every once in a while, as in the case recently near Baggs, Wyo., elk can sometimes really get into it. So much so, when Baggs Game Warden Kim Olson and Green River Wildlife Biologist Patrick Burke responded to a scene on September 5 involving two entangled elk combatants, they knew they would have to intervene.

The bulls were fairly well exhausted by the time Burke tranquilized them both. Neither seemed too worse for the duel. They both woke and ran off on Delaney Rim with no apparent hard feelings.

Because this event took place during open elk hunting seasons, the elk were marked with florescent orange spray paint and “Call Before Consuming” ear tags so that people know they were handled and tranquilized. This is standard operating procedure.

Thanks to WGFD Digital Content Specialist Chris Martin for preparing the video for us.

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