Bruiser, photographed here in November 2021, is Whidbey Island’s lone elk (Photo provided by Jay Londo)

Bruiser, photographed here in November 2021, is Whidbey Island’s lone elk (Photo provided by Jay Londo)

Whidbey Island’s elk-in-residence Bruiser not guilty of rumored assault

Recent rumors of the elk’s alleged aggression have been greatly exaggerated, according to state Fish and Wildlife.

OAK HARBOR — Rumors surrounding Bruiser the Elk this week have stirred up Whidbey Island social media pages, namely that he knocked down an elderly man, breaking his back, and that he was put down.

None of this is true, confirmed state Fish and Wildlife officer Ralph Downes.

“As of yesterday, (Bruiser’s) happy, happy, happy,” he said.

The alleged victim of the temperamental elk did not break his back and hadn’t even heard the rumor about his own broken back.

Rumors flying around about the island’s biggest celebrity aren’t new. In the past, people have claimed the elk got run over or otherwise passed away. Yet stories about a bicycle and other large objects being tangled in his antlers were, in fact, true, as was a complaint about him goring a car.

Any conflict between wildlife and humans is assessed on a case-by-case basis, Downes said. This time of year, the department receives calls about aggressive deer, but putting them down would only happen after officials have tried everything else. Most cases just require separation.

For Bruiser, his aggression has decreased with age, and wildlife officials typically don’t receive many calls about him this time of year anyway.

“This is his calmest time of year. He’s chilling out, growing new antlers, trying to fatten up,” Downes said.

Rumors are unproductive and a product of social media, he said.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling publication to The Herald.

Sam Fletcher; sam.fletcher@whidbeynewsgroup.com

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Dave Calhoun speaks during a 2017 interview in New York. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)
Lawmakers to confront Boeing CEO on mounting quality and safety issues

Before the Tuesday hearing, a congressional subcommittee accused Boeing of mismanaging parts and cutting quality inspections.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

Mountlake Terrace maintenance crew Ty Burns begins demolishing “the bunkers” on Monday, June 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Eyesore no more: After decades, Mountlake Terrace bunkers bite the dust

The bunkers held a storehouse of history, much of it moldy, outdated and unwanted.

The intersection of Larch Way, Logan Road and Locust Way on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Alderwood Manor, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Roundabout project to shut down major Bothell intersection for months

The $4.5 million project will rebuild the four-way stop at Larch and Locust ways. The detour will stretch for miles.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.