trapped elk

A bull elk entangled by rope near Golden High School on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.  

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers rescued a bull elk that was entangled in rope and caught on several trees near Golden High School on Tuesday.

Officers said the elk was first spotted at 8:15 a.m. when a resident reported it walking with rope caught in its antler and dragging on the ground behind it. Less than an hour later, officers discovered the elk stuck in the thicket near 24th Street and Cheyenne Drive.

With help from the Golden Police Department’s animal management unit, officers tranquilized and freed the elk, releasing it back into the wild by 10:25 a.m.

“Thanks to the local resident who reported this immediately, we were able to have a quick response and freed the elk without it sustaining any serious injury,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Martinez.

Martinez said the rope appeared to be from an area that land managers had roped off to prevent elk from causing damage.

"Land managers have every right to protect their property and the ones in Golden do as good of a job as they can to mitigate conflicts like these,” Martinez said. “We appreciate their efforts, but these things still can and do happen.”

Officers believe the elk was uninjured but exhausted and will make a full recovery.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in the middle of a five-year study on the movements and land use of elk in the Golden area. The results of the study may help prevent such incidents by informing wildlife officers of possible herd management strategies.