|The amorous elk in 100 Mile House, relocated by B.C. conservation officers recently for becoming too familiar with a local rancher's cattle heard. PHOTO COURTESY GREG MESSNER
CALGARY -- The amorous nature of one elk had become a hot, heavy and dangerous sight near the community of 100 Mile House, B.C., where motorists would clog the highway to watch the beast get busy with, of all things, cows.
B.C. conservation officers recently tranquilized the 500-kg animal for relocation away from 100 Mile House, about 200 km of Kamploops, and the cattle with which he’d been having his way this summer.
He had, it seems, fell in love in a hopeless place.
“Different sort of breed, that guy,” joked Greg Messner, who tends the herd of cattle that became the elk’s object of inter-species affection.
Messner, whose wife’s family has ranched 100 Mile House for a century, first noticed the beast about three years ago standing atop a meadow, eyeing his cows. He sported an impressive rack.
The animal disappeared only to return in 2011 when he came in for a closer look at Messner’s herd.
“And then this year, there he was, right in the middle of it, doing his thing,” he recalled.
At first, watching an elk mate with his cows imbued Messner with mixed feelings.
“It’s kind of like your best friend getting a girlfriend, and you find out it’s your wife,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if I should be happy with him or shoot him.”
Messner tried shooing the horny beast away several times.
Each time, the determined animal would wander back for more.
“It was like last call on a Friday night -- he just didn’t want to leave,” he said.
All day long the elk would impose himself on different members of Messner’s herd, using his antlers to nudge calves away while he mounted their mothers.
The beast became somewhat of a local celebrity and, to watch him in action, a spectacle for motorists passing on Hwy. 97.
“(The highway was) jam-packed with tourists, Germans in their camper vans, people running across the highway, it was crazy,” Messner said.
The elk’s impressive rack had also made the animal a target for hunters.
Messner contacted conservation officers, who agreed to relocate the animal.
For the elk’s safety and that of Messner’s cows, they removed the beast’s six-point rack. As Messner pointed out, the rack will grow back next year, right around the time he expects to see the animal return.