Arizona Game and Fish officials say darting and helping an elk with a trash can lid around its neck was par for the course.
On Monday night, wildlife managers finally tranquilized the young elk on the eighth hole of the Chaparral Pines golf course as the helpless bull hung out with a herd of 20 of its closest friends.
Officials made the 30-yard shot from a resident’s golf cart.
Using a handsaw, wardens cut through the elk’s unique neckwear, then released it back into the wild uninjured, this time adorned with two new ear tags.
What originally looked like the base of a traffic cone, turned out to be the lid from a trash receptacle, with the words “Trash”
clearly marked on it, said a Chaparral Pines security guard who witnessed the whole round of play.
Residents originally spotted the elk more than a month ago. Security guards even kept a picture of the elk hanging in the guardhouse.
Although it didn’t appear in distress, the elk had a hard time lowering its head to feed.
On Monday afternoon, APS workers noticed the strange looking elk off Desert Mimosa Drive and notified security guards who tracked the elk for some time through the forest.
Local state Game and Fish workers arrived, but couldn’t do anything because the nearest tranquilizer was in Camp Verde.
David Daniels, Game and Fish wildlife manager, said there are only two people in the department trained to use this particular type of tranquilizer. Wildlife biologist Jeff Gagnon, who has the training to use the darts, drove from Camp Verde and he and Daniels hitched a ride on a Chaparral Pines resident’s golf cart.
Around 9 p.m., they spotted the elk, sedated it and sawed the lid off.
After working eight years with Game and Fish, Daniels said he has seen his fair share of weird sightings, from a deer with a swing set ladder over its head to an elk with a ball of wire wrapped around its head.