BILLINGS – A Columbus rancher recently found two bull elk, tangled up with each other with baling twine and hooked to juniper tree.
Unfortunately, wildlife officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were forced to euthanize the animals.
According to Bob Gibson with FWP, the elk were stuck for days. They were likely hungry, thirsty and tired from the struggle to free themselves.
Game wardens arrived to investigate the situation and decided their options were limited. Gibson said the wardens felt it was too dangerous to cut the twine and the animals were too weak to tranquilize. Plus the meat would spoil if they were shot by a hunter this fall, Gibson said.
Wardens made the unfortunate decision, according to Gibson, to euthanize the animals and then attempted to find out where the twine came from.
“The message is pick up all your baling twine,” said Gibson. “But we aren’t sure where it got picked up. The rancher said, ‘I pick up my baling twine. I don’t leave it lying around.’ And this was obviously a great big ball of it someplace.”
The meat from the elk was donated to the Veterans’ Meat Locker in Billings for processing and distribution to local veterans.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News