April 21 (UPI) -- A wildlife officer in Canada helped separate a pair of fighting elk by shooting at their interlocked antlers.
Grand Prairie Fish and Wildlife Enforcement shared photos of the two bull elk that were found out in the snow with their antlers locked together in the midst of a scuffle.
"Finding two animals with their antlers jammed together is a rare event," Fish and Wildlife said. "In these situations, the struggle can last for hours upon hours and often leads to one or both animals dying from exhaustion."
Oilfield worker Darcy Parlee told the CBC he saw the two animals lying in a field and thought they were sleeping, but quickly called Fish and Wildlife when he realized the elk were stuck together.
"I felt horrible because one of them was quite weak," he said.
The Fish and Wildlife department said the two animals were still engaged in the fight when the officers arrived and the cold weather rendered tranquilizers ineffective.
"With these things in mind, officers had to find a way to free the animals from a distance without immobilizing them," Fish and Wildlife said. "The location provided a safe and open area to discharge a firearm, so using slugs and a very careful aim, an officer broke off portions of the antler, allowing the two elk to separate."
One of the elk ran off and appeared to remain in good health, but the other stayed back to recuperate and was eventually found dead the next day.
Parlee was saddened by the elk's death, but was thankful his actions helped at least one survive.
"I felt relieved," he said. "I would not have slept that night if I didn't call them."