Jacob Stoller, a cutthroat trout specialist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife found himself in a unique situation when he was called upon to help a pair of bull elk in distress.
The two elk had been tangled up for a couple of days according to reports from residents and Stoller and two other fish biologists headed out to the site the elk were last seen. After a quick canvas of the area, the small team was able to locate the elk, who were obviously succumbing to fatigue after their extended skirmish.
In cases such as this one, typically biologists will enlist the help of tranquilizers to immobilize the animals and free them. In this instance, the elk were so fatigued that any human contact came with a big risk for injury.
“The best method we had was shooting the antlers off with a shotgun and slug,” Stoller told the Great Falls Tribune.
Positioning himself as close as possible to the animals, Stoller fired three shots, missing the first and only grazing the antler on the second.
“I aimed a little bit high,” Stoller said. “If I was going to miss I wanted to miss high.”
The third shot did not disappoint, striking the antler directly and breaking it off, finally freeing the elk. Surprisingly enough, when the animals realized they were free from each other, they continued to fight for just a moment before the smaller elk ran off.
Stoller and the other biologists left the area as soon as they could to allow both animals the opportunity to relax and find some water or food.