Giggly television news anchors have delighted in a viral YouTube video, showing an elk trying to chase down a motorcycle on Montana Highway 200. The 115-second clip topped 100,000 hits by Oct. 15.
Heather Leigh and boyfriend Glen Smith were motorcycling through Montana's Blackfoot Valley Sept. 29 when a spike bull elk began following them and continued chasing them on the highway.
But what most people don't know is that the elk has been killed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for being "a bit too forward" according to this morning's Missoulian.
“It was a judgment call on our part,” FWP warden Capt. Joe Jaquith told The Missoulian. “We were looking at the traffic hazard the animal was creating and its aggressive behavior toward the public. We felt that it was just too big of a risk to wait another week or 10 days for the hunting season and the safest thing to do would be to dispatch it.”
FWP officials said the decision to kill the elk was made before the agency was aware of the video. The warden said the same elk was "acting very aggressive" on the property of a landowner.
Jaquith told The Missoulian that relocating the elk would have been "very problematic."
"The only way we can do that is to drug the animal," he said. " And then we have concerns about, you know, a week or two later if it gets harvested during the hunting season after we pumped it full of narcotics. So this is a time of year when that’s probably not a consideration.”
The elk was field dressed and the meat taken to be processed for a local food bank.