A woebegone elk with what looks like the base of a traffic cone stuck on his head has folks fretting up along Tyler Parkway.
The young male elk showed up a month ago sporting some curious neckwear and a nonchalant attitude.
He’s been spotted repeatedly since then, as though he was auditioning for a YouTube video.
Dottie Smith first saw him in May as she left a friend’s wedding as she drove down Tyler Parkway.
She spotted the wayward elk twice more still in its strange outfit before she snapped a picture last week.
“I have no idea how he got in that fix. My best guess is that it is the bottom of one of those road cones. That’s the only thing I can think of. I don’t know: maybe he got mad at it or something,” mused Smith.
The odd elk has become the talk of the neighborhood.
Her neighbors reported the elk’s predicament to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Makes sense: Technically, they own all the state’s wildlife.
“They just took down the information,” said Smith, a Peoria Realtor who lives in Payson part-time.
Smith hopes the elk figures out how to get free of the cone before he grows antlers and complicates his whole situation.
“Seems like if he just lowered his head far enough, it would fall off. It’s kind of sad,” she said.
“But it just goes to show how much trouble an elk can get into.”
She said she and her husband have taken hundreds of photos of elk — including some pictures last year of a bull that had somehow gotten a length of rope all tangled up in his antlers.
She noted that she reconsidered her hobby after the recent incident in which a cow elk knocked down and injured a Payson woman taking a photo.
“It gives you pause. They do let you get pretty close sometimes.
“Fortunately I have a long lens. And my husband does too.”
Because you’ve got to admit: If an elk will try to make a fashion statement by wearing a traffic cone — you just never know what the heck he might do next.