A bull elk was killed after it jumped into the road in front of a car in south-central Minnesota early Friday morning.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the car hit the elk just before 8 a.m. on Hwy. 4 about 1 1/2 miles north of Hector. The driver wasn't injured but the elk was killed in the collision.
The DNR tells BMTN that the elk didn't appear to have markings or signs that it had been tagged, meaning it was likely a wild elk rather than an elk that escaped someone's farm. Further examination will be done to clarify where it came from.
"In the past, elk sightings [this far south] have largely been animals that have escaped a farm," said the DNR's Dan Ruiter. "Sampling will be done to test it for disease at the DNR wildlife health program at Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area."
Renville County, where Hector is located, doesn't have a resident elk herd, but there is a small population of wild elk in extreme northwest Minnesota, according to Ruiter.
"Young bull elk have been reported to move hundreds of miles," Ruiter said. "Right now is the elk breeding season, so bulls are on the move and potentially more visible."
Ruiter suspects that this elk could be from the herd in northwest Minnesota or from a neighboring state.