The bodies of two large bull elk have been found in a pond in rural Nebraska, US, with their antlers locked together.
- Bulls are believed to have drowned while fighting
- Retrieving bodies required heavy machinery
- Elk to be preserved, mounted together
Their bodies were discovered partially submerged in a paddock at a ranch in Garfield County.
Brian Petska was mustering cattle in the area when he spotted something in the pond.
“I was hauling by here about 200 yards away and I look over here and I’ve seen something sticking out of the pond,” he said.
“I talked myself out of it three times but then, since the gate was open and I didn’t have to open a gate, I drove over here and I couldn’t believe what I saw.”
The bulls were already dead when they were discovered.
Brian Petska discovered the bodies while running cattle at a ranch in Garfield County in Nebraska, US. (Kendra Brinkman)
It was a sad end for the bulls, Mr Petska’s daughter Kendra Brinkman said.
“We knew they had been living in the area, and have found a few sets of shed antlers over the past couple [of] years,” Ms Brinkman said.
It’s believed the elk, estimated to have weighed 360 kilograms, were fighting shortly before their death, with the pair locking antlers, overbalancing and landing in the water.
Unable to stand back up, it is assumed the bulls drowned.
Ms Brinkman posted photos of the find on Facebook, which have been shared more than 10,000 times.
It wasn’t until a few days after the initial discovery that Mr Petska was able to rally a team of locals to move the elk.
The group worked to manoeuvre the elk in a way that kept them in the same position as they were found.
As seen in a video posted to the Pitzer Ranch YouTube channel, the bodies were attached to a forklift with chains before being dragged out of the water together.
Ms Brinkman said the group planned to have the elk preserved and mounted together for display.