Varmint hunting: Part 2

Last week we tackled part 1 of varmint hunting. This week, I want to follow up with part 2.

Varmint hunting has a cult-like following so I won’t be able to do it justice in two short articles, but hopefully it’s enough info to help get you jump started. This week, let’s try to cover the loose ends.

Last week, I briefly said that night hunting was magical, and it is. That’s a varmint’s primo feeding time.

If you plan on hunting varmints at night in multiple states, check each state’s regs as they can vary wildly.

There are a million options now for lights. In the old days, we’d call and then the spotter would run a strong flashlight/spotlight beam in a circle around your feet and try to pick up the glint of any approaching eyes. You can also run it on the skyline.

If there are any eyes, the shooter gets ready and then tells the light man to drop the light. You’ll have a couple seconds to take a shot before he bolts. Bobcats will many times close their eyes and you can lose them.

Years ago, hunters discovered that a red or green light is not as visible to animals so many started using colored spotting lights. Which is why SneakyHunter BootLamps uses colored lights on their BootLamps.

There is now available a plethora of lights for spotlighting. Most are some variation of a flashlight that attaches to your rifle or shotgun. Some have a cord with a button and some you just have to hit the switch just like on any flashlight.

Some of the coolest ones are the Crimson Trace laser lights. I’ve got a few of them and if I remember correctly, the beam can reach out something like 200 to 250 yards. CT sells 50 percent of all laser sights sold.

The best way to mount your night lighting system is to use a Picatinny rail — which most ARs have and you can add on additional ones.

But the most awesome way to hunt at night is with thermal-imaging gear. Last spring, Texas Outdoor Journal publisher Bill Olson and I hog hunted with Clifford of Third Coast Thermal in Texas.

I’m sure that you have watched sniper war movies where the sniper is looking through a thermal imaging scope and it looks like the terrorists are green goblins coming in. That is exactly how it is. There are two kinds of night lighting that most people clump in this family. They are actually different, though.

You have thermal imaging that picks up heat, and light-gathering scopes that pick up all of the light.

Here’s the cool thing that I love about thermal imaging. I dropped two hogs back to back and even with them laying in some semi-tall grass, I could see them because of their body heat. I put down the rifle and picked up my Riton Optics binoculars and even though they were out by a Slow Glow lighting system, I couldn’t see them due to them being in the grass but with the thermal imaging I could.

If you have the money, thermal imaging is awesome.

Clifford loaned me one of his .308s with a suppressor, which allowed for fast follow-up shots. That kind of hunting could quickly become addictive.

If you want to get a super-cool pelt, then you need to harvest a bobcat. Their pelts are strikingly beautiful. Calling at night is the best time to call cats, but on a trip once, Bill and I called in two cats in the daylight and only one at night. So you can for sure call them in the day; it’s just usually better at night.

Cats like a lot of busy noises like chirping birds. They also like a lot of busy movement light a waggler type of attractant decoy. You don’t have to worry about covering your smell like you do when calling coyotes but you do need to conceal your movement.

Another fun animal to call is raccoons. They’ll usually come in pretty easy and many times multiple ones at once. A .22 mag works fine on them. I want to take my Henry’s lever action .22 mag spotlighting some night. That’d be cool. And foxes come in easily as well.

So just because we’re in the dead of winter it doesn’t mean that all is lost in the hunting world. In fact, right now is primo varmint-hunting time. Get out and have a little fun and at the same time help the antelope, deer and elk herds.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana.

Black powder biathlon: Enthusiasts gather for canyon competition

Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and hundreds of elk, black powder enthusiasts rendezvoused with their inner 19th century fur-trader on Saturday.

Around 50 shooters from around the state gathered at Hardware Ranch in northern Utah’s Blacksmith Fork Canyon for the fifth annual Willy Wapiti’s Smokepole Biathlon. Shooters raced a near-100 yard trail — with or without snowshoes — to five separate shooting stations. Each station had two sets of metal silhouette targets ranging from 25 to 75 yards — one set for traditional shooters and another at further distances for intended modern muzzleloaders.

Rachael Tuckett, a wildlife recreation specialist with the Northern Region of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said prizes are given to the best score out of 10. Tuckett said prizes include electronic earmuffs, knives, firestarters and gift cards from biathlon’s regular sponsor Sportsman’s Warehouse.

But another prize is given to mountain man with the best outfit.

“I think that’s more fun for a lot of them, is to dress up,” Tuckett said.

Levi Bassett, the shooting sports manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the event continues to grow. Last year the event had 35 participants. Tuckett said the event is scheduled on a day when Hardware Ranch is open and giving sleigh rides — making the event appealing for the whole family.

“It’s free for the public,” Bassett said, “and then we provide equipment if they don’t have any.”

Dave Winters of Herriman, Utah, said though he had heard of the event for a couple of years, this was the first year he was able to attend. For Winters, a former deputy sheriff for Salt Lake County, the event is appealing because of his love for traditional guns.

“Anything about making smoke with black powder guns — shooting black powder guns,” Winters said with a laugh. “Not yuppie, inline flat-lander guns. But real, mountain man guns — I love it.”

In her first biathlon outing, 20-year-old Alyssa Stansfield of Alpine, Utah, was the first of only a few competitors at the event to score a perfect 10 on the course. Stansfield said she has been shooting muzzleloaders with her family for nearly 14 years, but this was the first time she had shot in around 18 months due to a stay out of the country — something she must have missed.

“I just love shooting,” Stansfield said. “It’s so fun; I don’t even know how to explain it.”

Enthusiasts from across state gather for mountain man biathlon

Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and hundreds of elk, black powder enthusiasts rendezvoused with their inner 19th century fur-trader on Saturday.

Around 50 shooters from around the state gathered at Hardware Ranch in northern Utah’s Blacksmith Fork Canyon for the fifth annual Willy Wapiti’s Smokepole Biathlon. Shooters raced a near-100 yard trail — with or without snowshoes — to five separate shooting stations. Each station had two sets of metal silhouette targets ranging from 25 to 75 yards — one set for traditional shooters and another at further distances for intended modern muzzleloaders.

Rachael Tuckett, a wildlife recreation specialist with the Northern Region of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said prizes are given to the best score out of 10. Tuckett said prizes include electronic earmuffs, knives, firestarters and gift cards from biathlon’s regular sponsor Sportsman’s Warehouse.

But another prize is given to mountain man with the best outfit.

“I think that’s more fun for a lot of them, is to dress up,” Tuckett said.

Levi Bassett, the shooting sports manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the event continues to grow. Last year the event had 35 participants. Tuckett said the event is scheduled on a day when Hardware Ranch is open and giving sleigh rides — making the event appealing for the whole family.

“It’s free for the public,” Bassett said, “and then we provide equipment if they don’t have any.”

Dave Winters of Herriman, Utah, said though he had heard of the event for a couple of years, this was the first year he was able to attend. For Winters, a former deputy sheriff for Salt Lake County, the event is appealing because of his love for traditional guns.

“Anything about making smoke with black powder guns — shooting black powder guns,” Winters said with a laugh. “Not yuppie, inline flat-lander guns. But real, mountain man guns — I love it.”

In her first biathlon outing, 20-year-old Alyssa Stansfield of Alpine, Utah, was the first of only a few competitors at the event to score a perfect 10 on the course. Stansfield said she has been shooting muzzleloaders with her family for nearly 14 years, but this was the first time she had shot in around 18 months due to a stay out of the country — something she must have missed.

“I just love shooting,” Stansfield said. “It’s so fun; I don’t even know how to explain it.”

Varmint hunting: Part 1

It’s winter so you might as well put away your rifles and curl up and die. All is lost, right? No! One of the finest hunting opportunities is in full blast right now. You may ask what? Varmint hunting! Varmint hunting can provide for some fast pace shooting. If you’ve never done it, you need to.

You may ask, where should I hunt them? One time I was driving to Boise to conduct a varmint hunting seminar at Cabela’s. As I was about to get on the freeway, I looked off to my right and there was a coyote working a fence line right in town. Unbelievable.

So to answer your question as to where to find them — almost anywhere. I’ve always said if the communists dropped an H-bomb on America, the only two things that would survive (and probably thrive) are cockroaches and coyotes.

Yes, you can occasionally pick up a coyote just driving around, but we want to talk about targeting them. To really be efficient you need an electronic call. You can set one out 40 yards from you and run it by a remote control. That way when they come in, they’re focused on the call and not you.

You also need to use decoys. They hear a lot of commotion, come running in and then whoa! Something is weird. They don’t see any other animals. You’ll want to use an electronic waggler type of decoy. It is basically a wire that flips around with a white rag tied to the end of it. They work great. I also like to use a coyote and rabbit decoy from Montana Decoys. You might also want to use a deer or antelope decoy since both are around the Limon area. I’d recommend tying a small rag on their tail to look like a tail moving in the wind.

You’ll need somewhere to hide. You can duck behind a fence row, brush pile or a lot of times I’ll carry a piece of camo’d burlap and lay it over two sage bushes. Or I also like the Ameristep Throwdown blinds. They set up in a C-shape and are super lightweight.

Coyotes will always approach and then circle downwind so you’ll want to use a cover scent. My brother-in-law carries a roll of toilet paper in a coffee can soaked in skunk scent and sets it downwind of us. All I can say is you better make sure that it is downwind!

What kind of guns should you use? In the old days you wanted a bolt action .223 but now, AR .223’s are super popular. And for good reason. They allow you to take fast follow up shots. A lot of times more than one will come in.

If there are two or more of us, I make someone carry a shotgun. Get a Trulock full choke and use HEVI-Shot Dead Coyote loads. Years ago, their marketing manager told me that she rolled a coyote DOA at 70 yards. After using them, I don’t doubt it. They are deadly.

Everyone is on a budget so if you can’t afford an electronic call, hand calls still work, too. Sixty years ago that is all that we had.

It works best to call early morning and at dusk but night hunting is magical. We’ll talk about that next week. So don’t set around shelling out your hard earned money for counseling fees because it is winter and you’re depressed. Grab your rifle and a call and go whack some coyotes! They have some cool pelts and you’ll help the antelope and deer herds.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana.

Sportsmen Against Hunger event set for Saturday

CHUBBUCK — The 13th annual Sportsmen Against Hunger event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at C-A-L Ranch in Chubbuck’s Pine Ridge Mall.

Those who attend can help raise money for the Idaho Foodbank here in Southeast Idaho by playing a fun corn hole game made just for this event with some amazing prizes going to the high scorers.

Here’s how it works: Participants buy a game card to take to each of the booths stationed throughout the store. Once the game card has been stamped at each booth, participants can try their skills at the corn hole toss. Cost to play is $10 for one try and $20 for three tries. All proceeds will be donated to the Idaho Foodbank to benefit families in Southeast Idaho.

The event booths will be staffed by local sportsmen’s groups and community organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation and fighting community issues like hunger. Booths will share information and displays, offer raffles, and provide some fun items and activities for kids, including Idaho Fish and Game’s laser shot simulated hunting game

This event is a great way to have fun with the family, win some awesome prizes and make a difference for the Idaho Foodbank and those they serve in Southeast Idaho.

25 years later: Politics, myths and the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone

In the same year that Yellowstone National Park marks the 25th anniversary of gray wolf reintroduction, Colorado voters will have the power to pass or reject an initiative that would require its state wildlife division to reintroduce wolves by 2023.

“For the first time, voters will determine whether they want the state to reintroduce wolves to that state,” said Jonathan Proctor of the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, which sponsored the signature gathering for the initiative.

“If this goes as we hope and we pass this, we will have wolf connectivity across the entire Rocky Mountains from Alaska to Mexico,” he added. “Colorado is the missing link.”

Yellowstone

That link began to be rebuilt on Jan. 12, 1995. On that day under tight security, eight wolves that had been live-trapped in Canada were hustled into a secret enclosure inside Yellowstone where they would be kept to acclimate to their new surroundings.

In March 1995, the wolves, along with another group of 14 more Canadian wolves, were released into the park where they have since thrived at a level of about 100 wolves. The same year four wolves were released into Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

There’s no doubt in Mike Phillips’ mind that the wolf reintroduction was the most important wildlife restoration project ever conceived and executed in the United States. As the park’s lead biologist at the time, Phillips oversaw the work, calling it an “historic conservation success.”

Given the controversy surrounding wolves — which were slaughtered into extinction in the early 1900s — not everyone shares Phillips’ perspective. Even after 25 years some landowners, hunters, outfitters and legislators continue to disparage the animal.

No comfort

The continuing animosity for gray wolves and other wildlife has been deeply troubling for Phillips in his work as a state legislator. Bills he has introduced to protect wandering park wolves and outlaw running over coyotes were rejected by his committee opponents who held the majority.

“I’ve always been intrigued by legislators who proclaim such great faith” in God but treat nature with contempt, said the Democrat from Bozeman, Montana. “I think their God would hold wildlife in great regard.”

The rejection of such bills became so galling that he no longer prays with the Senate during the Legislature, choosing instead to step into the hall and pray alone.

“I couldn’t find enough comfort,” he said.

Myths

Phillips said reintroduction of wolves in western Colorado would fulfill the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s goal of recovery by restoring the animals to a significant portion of their range. Without Colorado, he predicted the agency will face lawsuits in trying to claim the species has recovered.

Proctor, of the Defenders of Wildlife, said polls show a majority of Coloradans support wolf reintroduction in the state. He said that’s partly because Yellowstone’s wolves during the past 25 years have provided an example of the species’ effect on other wildlife and habitat, as well as helped to dispel naysayers’ myths.

For example, Proctor said, wolves have not decimated Montana’s or Wyoming’s elk herds; although the population of elk did decline substantially in the park.

Wolf watchers have injected an estimated $5 million into the economy of towns near the park and tourism numbers have climbed to new heights in Yellowstone.

Scientific study of wolves in Yellowstone has demonstrated their impact on other species, as well as the natural environment. Wolf kills feed other animals. A reduction in elk may have helped restore some vegetation.

Some ranchers have learned to coexist with wolves through preventative programs coupled with livestock reimbursement programs for documented wolf kills.

“We had all of the fear mongering” when wolves were proposed for reintroduction, Proctor said. “But the reality of what’s happened on the ground has been largely positive.”

Politics

The re-establishment of wolves in the Northern Rockies has been as much about politics as biology. Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson supported wolf reintroduction and took a lot of heat from his constituents for doing so, but he thought it was the right thing to do.

“My great-grandparents were there wiping them out at the turn of the century,” he said.

Yet Simpson agreed that wolves could help complete Yellowstone’s ecosystem, returning balance by providing an apex predator.

“So I said I’ll take that risk,” he said.

Charging into the role to promote wolf reintroduction was Utah congressman Wayne Owens, a Democrat in a politically conservative state.

Owens died in 2002 at age 65, but his legacy and love for wild places and wildlife are still cherished by his family, said his son, Steve Owens, a Salt Lake City attorney.

“I have a button with a wolf on the front with red eyes that light up that says, ‘The eyes have it,’” he said. “He handed them out to members of Congress with a live wolf in a cage outside.”

Wayne Owens became enamored with wolves after taking a week-long course on wolf ecology in Yellowstone in 1986, according to the book “The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone,” by Thomas McNamee.

In 1987, Wayne Owens introduced the first bill calling for the release of wolves in Yellowstone. Although the bill failed, he kept pushing, ending one speech by howling.

In a 1993 Deseret News article, Wayne Owens said he decided to pursue wolf reintroduction after one of his sons questioned why congressmen in the states surrounding Yellowstone could stop the park managers from pursuing the task. Wayne Owens told the newspaper, “There was no answer except, ‘That’s politics.’ And that wasn’t good enough.”

His advocacy for wolf reintroduction could have played a role in his later defeat when running for Senate, yet his support for the animals never wavered.

“We all have a tremendous love and respect for nature and wild things,” Steve Owens said of his family.

Utah, on the other hand, remains largely anti-wolf, a fact that bothers him. He called the authorization of state funds to lobby the federal government to not reintroduce wolves “utterly offensive,” a sentiment his father would have shared.

“He said we should take the best 10 percent of lands and reserve it,” Steve Owens said. “He said we should tithe the lands for God.”

Forest Service looking to secure grants to improve recreation in the Pocatello area

POCATELLO — In January, the Westside Ranger District will apply for grants from the State of Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for the 2020-21 field seasons. IDPR provides a variety of funding programs and grants to government entities in Idaho for the enhancement of off-highway vehicle use and other recreational opportunities. 

The state programs are primarily funded from off-highway vehicle registrations and state gas tax revenue.

“This is a great program that allows us to improve our current recreation system,” said Rob Harris, recreation technician for the Forest Service. “This year we are applying to the OHV, motorbike, and recreational trails program to request funding for several projects.” The Westside Ranger District hopes to receive funding to assist with the following: 

West Fork Mink Trail Bridges. Funds would be used to purchase and install two wooden trail bridges and complete stream crossing rehabilitation for the West Fork Mink Cr. Trail #059. This bridge project will remedy two deteriorated fords on the creek, improve water quality, improve stream esthetics/functionality/health and enhance the year-round recreational experience.

Slate Mountain to Gibson Jack area trail tread refurbishing. Funds would be used to repair high-use trails on the district and employ a seasonal trail crew for the summer season. 

Recreation/Trails motorcycle replacement. Obtain funding to replace current machines that are in unsafe/inoperable conditions. Motorcycles will be used to access the Forest’s motorized trail system in order to complete various management actions.

Westside Ranger District trail signage. Funds will secure materials to improve signage of trail systems on the Westside Ranger District. Improvements will focus on the area bounded on the north by Gibson Jack Trail, traveling south to the Slate Mountain area.

Westside Trail bikes. The proposed funding would purchase two mountain bikes for maintenance and patrol purposes on the Westside Ranger District.

For questions or comments on these project proposals, contact Seth Schaub or Robert Harris at the Westside Ranger District by calling 208-236-7500 or emailing seth.schaub@usda.gov or robert.e.harris@usda.gov.

Show season is nearly upon us

After all the hunting seasons are closed, what’s a guy to do? Sit around and drink lattes and get fat? No! The show season is upon us, so get out and hit some of the outdoor shows.

I like going to outdoor shows for a lot of reasons, besides the obvious reason that it’s usually cold and the weather is miserable by then and I’m bored stiff. Here’s a few other reasons that I enjoy them.

SEMINARS

I love hitting the shows and attending the seminars. At every seminar I’ve ever attended, I’ve learned something. And the bigger the show, usually the better the speakers. Although I must throw out a disclaimer. Sometimes at smaller shows you’ll have a gung-ho young local guy and he’ll share everything that he knows and not hold back like some of the older dogs do.

And of course in January and February, I’ll be conducting a lot of seminars at the shows. January will be a busy month for me. The first week, I had two seminars at the Dallas Safari Club Convention and Sporting Expo. Jan. 20-24 is the SHOT Show, which is the largest outdoor show in the world (I’ll write an article on that show in the near future) and I’ll have three seminars there. On Feb. 6, the Safari Club International Convention in Reno kicks off, and I’ll have four seminars there. So I’ll be swamped.

NEW GEAR

If you are in need of new gear, hit the shows. Many times, manufacturers will have booths set up and be offering show specials. Plus, you’ll see a lot of new gear not offered in the big-box stores. I see a lot of creative hunters/fishermen that invented new little knickknacks and are trying to make a go of it. You’ll see gear you’ve never seen before.

A buddy told me that to get your product into Cabela’s, you have to let them list it on their internet sales for two years. Then if it does good, they’ll offer it in the store. Gee, you could have a great product and go broke before you ever got to put it in front of a customer. That’s where shows have helped jump start many struggling little companies. So you’re likely to see gear you’ve never seen before. That’s where I met SneakyHunter BootLamps.

GEAR

Then in addition to all the new products discussed above, there’ll also be a lot of booths with old gear. By old I don’t mean old, but rather what you will find in the stores. There may be show specials. For instance, if you’re in the market for a backpack, this may be a good spot to find one.

But please look around. People drive me nuts with their impulsive shopping habits. I remember one year I had eight seminars at a show. A buddy of mine worked for Blacks Creek Guide Gear, which is one of the top backpack companies in the country, and they had a booth in back. I don’t know how many people I saw that walked in the front door and walked straight to the first booth and bought a backpack. I know for sure that Robert had much better packs in back. Look around before you buy.

GUIDES

If you’ve been wanting to hire a guide to hunt or fish this is a great place to meet them. At the Boise show, I see some of the guides that I know from up in Alaska.

And if you want to go on an exotic safari, SCI and DSC are the two shows to hit. You can sign up for all manner of big game, bird hunting or fishing adventures. It’s almost painful to walk the aisles and see all of the cool hunts they are offering if you’re on a peon’s salary.

Most of the time, you can tell by talking to a guide if he is any good or not. But for sure, check references. You don’t want to waste 10 days and $25,000 on a bad deal.

And to get even deeper, you need to determine if their set-up is for you. You need to be honest with yourself. What is your main goal? To some people, it is important that they are back to the lodge by dusk and served a great dinner cooked by a chef and to sit around the proverbial camp fire and drink until midnight.

To other outdoorsmen, the whole objective is to hit it hardcore and be successful. Different guides specialize in different flavors. Make sure you pick the right flavor or you’ll be disappointed.

Be crystal clear on what is provided and what isn’t. Do they handle the shipping back of your trophies? Get all of the necessary tags, etc.? There can be a lot of hidden costs that they take for granted that you never knew about.

And you even have a gun show in La Grande in February. I always find stuff I can’t live without at every gun show I hit. Don’t you? Let the shows begin!

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana.

Mush! Idaho sled dog challenge bounding to McCall Winter Carnival

MCCALL — The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is returning for the third year Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 during the 2020 McCall Winter Carnival.

According to a press release, the race features world-class mushers and is the only 300-mile Yukon Quest qualifier in the lower 48 and one of only three such events in the contiguous continental U.S. states for the Iditarod. The Iditarod and the Yukon Quest are considered the longest and the toughest sled dog races in the world.

The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is part of the Rocky Mountain Triple Crown, which also includes the Eagle Cap Extreme on Jan. 22 to 25 near Joseph, Oregon, and the Race to the Sky on Feb. 7 to 11 near Helena, Montana.

According to one of the principal volunteers and spokespersons, Dave Looney, the Idaho race is considered one of the most grueling mushing competitions in the world due to its topography.

“Mushers will tell you this is a very, very atypical race,” Looney said. “Our elevation change is 44,000 feet, which is greater than the Iditarod. They call it a 500-mile race packed into 300 miles. So the dog care and the pacing and the attention they have to pay to the terrain is really important, because there’s a lot of up and down. One musher said the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is like climbing Mt. Everest — twice.”

In addition to the 300-mile Iditarod and Yukon qualifier, this year’s Idaho Sled Dog Challenge offers a 100-mile race for people newer to the sport and a 37-mile race for juniors ages 14 to 17.

Several race events are open to the public and free of charge and you can follow the race online day or night via GPS sled trackers or by visiting five road-accessible checkpoints. Visit idahosleddogchallenge.com for checkpoint locations, driving directions, a local resources guide, musher bios, and more.

Elk calf freed from discarded tomato cage and bucket

A elk calf that had become entangled in garden materials near Hailey was freed by Fish and Game officers on Dec. 28.

That day, Fish and Game officers received reports from Blaine County residents about an elk calf that had become entangled in a discarded tomato cage and bucket just north of Hailey. By mid-day, officers were able to locate the calf on the west side of Highway 75 in a grove of trees.

Knowing the calf would not be able to free itself from the metal, Fish and Game staff made the decision to dart the calf and remove the metal cage.

According to Senior Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford, “Darting an animal with an anesthetizing drug is a difficult undertaking. We can never be sure how much stress the animal has been in prior to darting or how each animal will react to the drugs. And more importantly, handling these drugs, often in extreme conditions, can place the Fish and Game officers at risk too.”

In this instance, the elk was successfully anesthetized, and the metal tomato cage and plastic bucket were removed.

Shackelford noted, “Once we removed the metal cage, we administered a second drug to reverse the effects of the first drug. The elk quickly recovered, and within minutes was up and running.”

This is not the first time that wildlife has become entangled in things such as Christmas lights, swing sets, rope, hammocks and fence wire. Residents are encouraged to properly store items on their property that could entangle wildlife.