US

Video Shows Two Elk That Died With Antlers Locked Together

By Zachary Stieber

Newly released video footage shows two bull elk that died with their horns locked together in a pond in Nebraska.

Kendra Brinkman and her father Jim Brinkman discovered the dead animals in a pond on Oct. 27 in Garfield County.

Jim Brinkman, saw the antlers poking out from the water and decided to investigate.

Kendra Brinkman said that what they found is extremely rare.

bull elk found dead locked together
A video shows two bull elk that died with their horns locked together, in Garfield County, Neb., on Oct. 27, 2018. (Kendra Brinkman via Storyful)

“You’ll never see this again,” one of the men who helped remove the elk from a Nebraska watering hole said in the video. “Not in our country.”

The bull elk were both large, in their prime.

“You go anywhere in the United States and shoot a bull like this and anybody in the country would put this on a magazine,” the man said. “These are quality elk. I mean, obviously, you don’t have to be a brain scientist to figure that out.”

“They were not emaciated at all,’’ Brinkman told the Omaha World-Herald. “They were big and healthy.’’ One bull rough-scored 360 while the other came in at 335, while both weighed around 800 pounds.

Tragedy

Kendra Brinkman said that what happened is a tragedy.

She said she thinks the bull elk were fighting until they both died, although no one is completely sure how they perished.

Normally the family would salvage the meat but decided not to because of the warmer temperatures. They said coyotes and other animals would feast on the meat.

The deaths appeared to happen near the end of rutting season.

Rutting Season

According to the My Yellowstone Park blog, the season features bull elk challenging each other with a series of grunts and other sounds.

Sometimes the challenge goes unanswered, though, because bull elk are often holding a third of up to 30 cow elk, half of which could be in prime breeding condition.

“Or the bull elk in charge of the herd, the rut is a tough time. Because the bull’s attention is so focused on his ladies, he often doesn’t take the time to eat. Bulls lose weight during this time of year, while other animals, including cow elk, are gaining weight in this time of harvest and fattening. Bull elk in the rut will dig out wallows in marshy grass, places where mud and water pool. There, they will thrash about to cool down, to chill the intensity of the rut,” the blog stated.

“At the edge of the wallow, it’s not unusual to see small, hapless trees thrashed to bits, or places where the bull has run his antlers into the mud and then tossed chunks of sod high into the air. The rutting bull elk is at once somewhat vulgar (he frequently urinates upon himself) and majestic.”