One cramped cow: Elk gets caught in Eagle window well, rescued without incident

Police say animal encounters are common in the area, but this was a first-of-its-kind incident

An elk is caught in a window well in Eagle in February. The elk was rescued without incident.
Courtesy image

Molly Neifert, who lives at the bottom of Fourth of July road in Eagle, says she often finds elk in her yard this time of year. But she didn’t think she’d ever find one in her window well.

In February, on a Sunday night at about 11:30 p.m., her family heard a commotion outside their basement window, and were stunned to see a female elk had somehow become stuck in the window well.

“I couldn’t believe she fit in there,” Neifert said of the elk. “She barely had any room to move.”

Neifert called police, who called Colorado Parks and Wildlife, but being late at night, “they were not able to respond quickly,” said Sgt. Luke Causey with the Eagle Police Department.

So the Eagle Police Department, along with the help of the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, decided to give it a go themselves.

“She did break the window, so we were concerned that if she stayed in there much longer she could cut herself,” Neifert said of the elk.

Crews prepare to remove an elk from a window well in Eagle in February. The elk had bedded down on the property in recent days and fell into the window well at night.
Courtesy image

Neifert said six or seven elk had bedded down on her property in recent weeks, which is common for this time of year.

But this year, however, with construction in the Highlands at Eagle Ranch, Neifert said she has been noticing more elk.

“We’re seeing them throughout the day, instead of just at night,” she said.

The basement window well of her house is about 6 feet deep, Neifert said, and while she did have a screen over the well to keep out mice and ground squirrels, she hadn’t considered installing a full cover over the window well.

Causey said police in the area had been receiving a high frequency of wildlife calls in the area in recent weeks, so it’s not surprising to have an uncommon incident occur.

“It’s not unusual for deer or elk to wander up into a garage or deck or something along those lines, but this is the first window well one that I’ve seen,” he said.

Neifert said she intends to warn her neighbors about the incident.

“It’s something people should probably consider,” she said.

The rescued elk rests for a second before darting off unharmed.
Courtesy image.

All told, however, the incident lasted less than an hour. A first attempt was made to blanket the animal, which didn’t quite work, and after a second go, the elk was lifted from the window well.

The elk rested on the ground for only a second before quickly darting off.

“We were all so relieved to see her quickly run away, she didn’t look hurt at all,” Neifert said.

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