Authorities search for elk spotted in East Texas roadway

Loose Elk?

GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - It was a sight that frightened some East Texas motorists and amazed others, something definitely out of place.

A strange animal with antlers standing in a Gregg County roadway.

An elk.

Gregg county authorities were called out to investigate.

The questions, where did it come from, and where did it go?

It happened along Highway 322 and FM 349 near East Texas Regional Airport.

Just standing in the roadway, a species that does not roam wild in East Texas.

“We found what initially appeared to be an elk. We’re not experts in wildlife, this is a non-native species. This is not an animal we’re used to dealing with,” said Gregg County sheriff’s office lieutenant Josh Tubb.

There are no known wild elk populations in East Texas.

Dash-cam video shows deputies from the airport division called to move it off the roadway. It then disappeared in the woods.

"We thought it was a horse at first. We found this large deer, what at first we thought was an elk. A red stag. It was nervous, it was running back and forth up and down the fence line," said deputy Glen Wilburn.

A full-grown elk can be as big as a horse, and they can be aggressive if they feel threatened.

A male can reach 700 pounds. But some thought it may be a red deer, the Scottish elk, a smaller species.

“It may be some other species that looks like an elk or could be confused with it. These are wild animals. There’s a danger in dealing with any wild animal,” Tubb said.

"We did not want to make it any more aggressive than it was," Wilburn said.

Investigators speculate the animal is an exotic pet that escaped in the area, but no one has reported an animal missing.

"We need to see if we can find out who owns this animal, before it or someone is hurt," said Tubb.

If anyone happens to see the animal along the roadway, they are asked to call the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office who wish to capture it.

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