Here’s a photo of a bull tule elk I took recently at Point Reyes. He has some barbed wire tangled in and hanging from his antlers. I don’t know how this happened, but it’s most likely because the wire was left on the ground. Bull elk joust with bushes and other vegetation and if some careless rancher leaves unwanted wire on the ground some of it winds up in elk and deer antlers. It isn’t likely to fall out of the antlers on its own, but it is likely to injure or kill the animal like it did the bull elk below that died at Point Reyes some time ago.
As I’ve said before, the fencing situation at Point Reyes is terrible. It’s not wildlife-friendly, that is, it’s difficult and dangerous for wildlife to get past it. It’s poorly maintained. When I wrote the post on fencing I found broken fences with hanging wires in many places. Something needs to be done because the current situation is killing the wildlife of the park.
Maybe fencing should be taken out of the hands of the ranchers. The Park Service could contract with one or more fence companies who would build and maintain the fencing to wildlife-friendly standards and the Park Service would bill the ranchers for the cost.