Washington families work together to rescue elk from freezing river

BARSTOW, Wash. — Families worked together to accomplish what game officials and police could not on Christmas Eve: rescuing an elk that had fallen through the ice into the Kettle River.

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Rylee Stuart told KXLY her husband had gone hunting for coyotes with his brother when they came upon the elk in the river.

In a Facebook post, Stuart describes calling police and game wardens, who refused to come help. Police told her there were no officers available for a rescue, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife initially suggested leaving the elk alone and letting nature run its course, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Update Another video of our Christmas Eve Elk Rescue 2021 Barstow WA kettle river. A little back story incase some...

Posted by Rylee Stuart on Friday, December 24, 2021

In Stuart’s Facebook post, she says a game warden eventually came to help, along with other volunteers who helped pull a total of 12 elk out of the water, but only six survived. The rescue took from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. In the post Stuart said: “I’m pretty sure we have a broken hand and possible a broken foot and a bruised back and sore noggin from getting kicked in the back and head by a cow Elk for trying to hook a calf up to pull it up the bank in the group but those are the only injuries other than being sore and maybe a couple cuts or scrapes.” She ended the post by thanking everyone involved with the rescue, including those who brought blankets and warm drinks.

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