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.