From January 1999 to April 2002, 14 free-ranging elk were darted with a mixture of Telazol® reconstituted with xylazine hydrochloride (HCl) in a forested habitat in southwestern Oklahoma and north-central Arkansas. Elk were darted from ground blinds, tree stands, or a vehicle at distances of 14–46 m and were recovered 37–274 m from the dart site. Elk were located using radiotelemetry with 3-cc disposable Pneu-dart® transmitter darts. Mean±SD dose of Telazol® and xylazine HCl was 590±192 mg/ml and 276±153 mg/ml, respectively, and mean time to standing after injection of reversal agent was 27 min (range: 1–65 min). The combination of Telazol® and xylazine HCl successfully immobilized free-ranging elk, and transmitter-equipped darts permitted successful location of sedated elk by two people in areas of dense forest cover. The dose required to sedate elk appeared to vary depending on physiology and behavior, but no drug-induced mortality occurred despite the wide variance in the doses administered. We recommend 500 mg Telazol® reconstituted with 300 mg xylazine HCl as an initial dose for a ≥200 kg elk. If needed to achieve full sedation, up to 3 additional ml of the mixture may be administered without adverse effects.
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Vol. 41 • No. 2