COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. — Wildlife officers euthanized an elk that was hit by a vehicle on I-40 in Cock County last week.
According to TWRA, Wildlife Officer Matt Howard got a call about an injured elk off I-40 eastbound around mile marker 450. When he arrived, he found the elk lying down by the Pigeon River, about 75 yards down a bluff from the interstate.
Howard noted that both of the animal's back legs were broken and the decision was made to euthanize the elk.
Howard worked with Nick Melton, a US Biological Technician for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to collect hair and blood samples from the elk for testing. The head was collected for biologists to test for possible diseases.
From the tag on his neck, officers identified him as bull elk number 297. He was caught in the fields of Cataloochee and tagged when he was only two days old. The elk was two years old and a 5x4, which means he had five-point antlers on one side and four on the other.
The meat from the elk was given to a family for food.