Bruiser not guilty of assault

Despite rumors, Whidbey’s elk didn’t harm anyone.

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 himself.

Rumors flying around about the island’s biggest celebrity aren’t new. In the past, people have claimed that 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 the social media platform, he said.