Watch: Bodycam footage shows deputies rescuing elk tangled in tree swing

Officials recently shared video of a bull elk with its antlers tangled in the rope of a tree swing, and how it was freed by two Washington sheriff's deputies.

Officials with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the deputies responded to an injured animal call on Sept. 1.

"They thought that they might have to put this animal down," officials said. "But when they got there, what they ended up doing was much more heroic and brave."

When they arrived, they saw the bull elk, or male elk, frantically running back and forth behind the tree where the swing was attached.

The elk, with his antlers stuck in a tree swing. (Pierce County Sheriff's Department via Storyful)

The bodycam footage begins with the deputies slowly approaching the elk and evaluating its situation.

Tranquilizers could not be used, as Fish and Wildlife officials and game wardens were unavailable at the scene, according to the sheriff’s department. So, the deputies used caution as they approached the elk.


The deputies then use a rake and long-handled pruners to release the animal.

First, one deputy slowly approaches the elk and carefully uses the pruners to clip one of the tree-swing ropes and remove it from around the animal’s antlers.

One deputy tries to clip the rope from behind a tree. (Pierce County Sheriff's Department via Storyful)

"Easy, good boy, good boy," he whispers to the elk. Given the large and aggressive nature of the stressed animal, the deputy told his colleague that he was trying to keep the tree between him and the elk.


With one last rope wrapped around the animal’s antlers, the deputy tries to use the pruners to clip it off. But as he approaches the elk, the animal begins to charge at the deputy, causing him to fall to the ground as he tries to distance himself from the animal and its antlers. 

The deputy stumbles to the ground as he escapes the elk. (Pierce County Sheriff's Department via Storyful)

The second deputy then tries to use the end of the rake to remove the remaining rope. As he nears the elk and uses the wooden end of the rake to address the rope, the rope comes off.

The next shot shows the elk running into the woods as the deputies look on. With the animal freed, the deputies breathe a sigh of relief and fist-bump each other.

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