On Friday, Region 3 Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) game wardens responded to reports of a dog chasing a cow elk in a subdivision southeast of Bozeman. The dog’s owner could not get the unleashed pet to come when called. In fairly deep snow, the dog chased the elk for 2 ½ hours.
While eventually the chase came to an end, incidents like this put wildlife in great danger. Dogs in particular can cause serious injury or kill animals much larger than themselves. The stress of a chase alone can eventually lead to the death of an animal. FWP reminds pet owners to secure their animals – especially in areas where wildlife might be present.
This is a make-or-break time of year for deer and elk. Often they can be found in large groups close to urban areas. This makes it more likely that these animals might come into contact with domestic pets. Dogs will instinctually be curious and, if left unchecked, run after groups of deer and elk.
Of course, pets can also be injured or killed while attempting to take down an animal big or small. Therefore, it is best to keep pets close and keep dogs leashed.
In the case last week, the dog’s owner was cited for permitting a dog to harass animals and may be fined up to $1000.