Bull elk aren’t common near Grand Forks, but a motorist hit one Saturday night on U.S. Highway 2 west of town, and a game warden shot the injured animal Sunday morning in a cornfield on the north side of the highway.
The collision occurred at mile marker 351 near Dave’s Total RV Repair, said Blake Riewer, district game warden for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Grand Forks.
Riewer put the animal down and issued a permit for the motorist to possess the elk.
While the driver hit the elk Saturday night, Riewer said he didn’t learn about the incident until Sunday morning, when he got a call from the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office. The warden said he was just leaving the house to check duck hunters, so he stopped by the site on the way out of town.
“I assumed it had just happened, so I stopped by, and the guy was there who hit it,” Riewer said. “He said, ‘No, I hit it last night about 10 p.m.’ He said, it’s still alive in the cornfield.
“I asked him, ‘Are you sure it’s an elk?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah, I’m sure.’ So I walked in there, and it was still alive.”
The elk was a younger bull that originally had a 6×5 rack with six points on one side and five points on the other, but three of the points were broken off, Riewer said.
“I think a couple points at least stuck into the guy’s car and broke off,” he said.
No further information about the accident was available because there were no injuries, and routine collisions between a vehicle and a deer or other big game animal don’t have to be reported, Riewer said.
The warden said he doesn’t recall seeing or hearing of elk this close to Grand Forks, at least since he became district game warden in 2013.
“Usually we get a couple every year wander down from the (Pembina) hills, but typically they end up closer to Larimore—in that country from Larimore and Northwood up through Orr, Inkster and Fordville,” Riewer said.
Fall is prime time for such collisions, however, so motorists need to be on the lookout.
“You never know what you’re going to see,” Riewer said.