Bull in a Hole and Other Elk Oddities

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Over the years, we have had sent in or heard about a variety of animal and hunting mishaps. Many of these turn out to be wildly imaginative or a classic fish tale that just keeps getting bigger and better. However sometimes the stories are true. Here is a collection of more recent elk oddities.

1.) Bull in a hole. Somewhere in San Juan County is a hole large enough to swallow an elk whole. As this article states: ...the elk was basically hanging by its antlers. They estimate that the elk had been dead about a week before it was discovered. Officials add that the digging around the hole may have been caused by predators trying to get to the carcass.

Watch where you step!

2.) Sometimes bulls get locked antlers. Sometimes bulls get their antlers wrapped in barbwire. Unfortunately these two managed to do both at the same time. This article over at the Glenwood Post Independent quotes Colorado DOW Wildlife Manager Perry Will stating “The way they were wrapped up, it looked like they started sparring through a fence and just got caught up in the barbed wire.”

3.) Bull in a ditch. Apparently this bull got into, but was not able to get out of a cement lined ditch. Fortunately after a lot of work, some good Samaritans were able to get him out. More photos and some video are available here and here.

4.) Here is a case of two bulls that got stuck together, but at least one was able to be separated. The force of the locked antlers was so great that a hack saw had to be used to separate the living from the dead. The resulting photo of the saved bull is rather comical. You can see more photos and a description here.

5.) Bull over a cliff. Every seasoned moose hunter has a story about the bull that ran off and died in a swamp making for a long, wet, and cold extraction. Compared to this extraction, the swamp looks warm and fuzzy.

Apparently this took place west of Yellowstone and the hunter made a solid lung shot, but then the bull charged toward tree line and took the long plunge. Quite possibly one of the worst extractions ever.


Alamosa's picture

here is one more

I shot this cow in 2004 near Durango.  Lost it for a while and then couldn't believe my eyes when I found it.

I worked my way down beside it and field dressed it with one hand while I clung to the rock with my other.  If the sun would go behind a cloud the blood would freeze onto the rock making the footing treacherous.  My brother kept begging me to please get a rope and harness and tie in.  I should have taken his advise, but I didn't want the meat to spoil.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Can't say much to that other

Can't say much to that other than "WOW". 

bghjournal's picture

That definitely makes the

That definitely makes the list.  Should have taken your brother's advice and used a rope. smile

Odd and Equally Sad

Some amazing and odd chain of events that would lead up to these acidents.  Its too bad that such a magnificent animal could and would fall into circumstances like these.

cscott711's picture

Wow, very interesting stuff

Wow, very interesting stuff right there.  While the pictures are good entertainment to look at and wonder just how the heck that happened, it is very unfortunate to think about the pain that some of those elk went through.  Elk sure are majestic creatures though.  Beautiful animals.

ecubackpacker's picture

Man, those are some crazy

Man, those are some crazy pics and stories.

An elk falling in a hole...I would never believe it if I hadn't seen it.

#4, now that's a non-typical bull there....LOL

Who came prepared to rappel down a cliff to retrieve their elk? That's a tough spot to pack an elk out of...he sure had a sense of accomplishment when he was finished packing that elk out.

While these are funny pics, it's sad to see some of these majestic animals die a miserable death.

ecoroamers's picture

Bull in a hole and other oddities

Sometimes mother nauture can play very cruel tricks on its own inhabitants.  Looks like you managed to aquire photo's of a few of those prediciments.  Great blog and very nice photography.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Amazing what can happen in

Amazing what can happen in nature, or when nature and humans cross paths.  I can't even imagine what I would have done with the elk that fell off the cliff.  Holy cow, that would have been tough.  And I know it was a magnificent animal, and death isn't really funny, but the one in the hole in the ground is just slightly humorous.....

CVC's picture

Yeah, the one with the hole

Yeah, the one with the hole in the ground does have its humorous side.  I suspect thought that most hunters would have tried to rescue the elk if they came upon it if they could.

CVC's picture

I am a long time member of

I am a long time member of BGH and I have to say this is one of the best posts I've seen.  I love the detail and the photos that go with it.  Amazing pictures and boggles the mind to think how the animals get themselves in these predictiments.  They are so much like teenage boys

Just saw a news report about a bear chasing a burned bison down the road.  They said the bison must have fallen into hot water in the park.  This story reminds me of that as I thought how the heck did the bison fall into hot water?  i find myself asking the same questions for a lot of these picture.

So What's the the Hole?

So all of these are interesting, unfortunate, but interesting.  But I don't get the hole?  Was it a cavern with a hole in the top that the elk just fell through?  I keep imagining the view from inside the cavern looking up at an elk hanging from his horns...what a terrible way to die.

I hope that once the elk was removed the Fish and Game folks checked the bottom of the hole for people who might have made the same mistake!!

The cliff is amazing.  Again, unfortunate, but I would love to have been that guy's buddy and seen the look on his face when his 300 class bull (maybe bigger by the looks of it) disappeared over the edge.  You can just see him looking over the cliff...back at his buddy...back over the cliff.  All the while with his jaw hanging slack and a tear in the corner of his eye.

hawkeye270's picture

These are absolutely amazing.

These are absolutely amazing. That bull that fell in a whole is crazy. There is a lot of weight hanging on his antlers. You can really see how strong the connection between the antlers and the pedicel is from that picture. The bulls that got wrapped up in the fence is pretty insane too. I have seen a lot of stories like this with deer, mostly white-tails so it is interesting to see some that star elk. Thanks for sharing the interesting stories and pictures.

jaybe's picture

Very Interesting!

These are very interesting stories and great photos.

Isn't it amazing how critters get into truoble just like humans do?

Thanks for posting this.