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Evergreen Golfer In ICU After Being Gored By Elk

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – The wife of Zak Bornhoft, a man gored by an elk while golfing over the weekend, said he remains in the ICU with immense pain. The incident occurred Saturday evening at Evergreen Golf Course. Evergreen firefighters responded to the course after Zak was injured by a large bull elk.

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(credit: Bornhoft family)

As of Monday, Zak remained in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.

"His pain is unmanageable at the moment, so they put him on some stronger pain meds and sent him back for another scan," Megan, his wife, said.

According to Megan, Zak was golfing with a family member and two friends Saturday. Throughout the day, the group had seen countless elk and avoided conflict, until they headed to the 17th hole.

"They kind of stopped because there was a herd of elk and one elk kind of came up and nudged the golf cart," Megan said.

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(credit: CBS)

Zak has since told his wife he was sitting on the passenger side of the cart when the elk approached them. After the elk challenged them the first time, they tried to drive away from it, she said.

"At that point, the horn went into the back of Zak's right side, his right hip, and we found out that it then went through to his left kidney," Megan said.

On Monday, Megan shared with CBS4 a live picture that was taken at the moment of the incident. While the camera lens is covered up, you can hear Zak say, "it got me." At that time, Megan said the driver brought her husband to the clubhouse, where employees called an ambulance. A spokesperson for Denver Parks and Recreation, which manages the course, said a guest who was a doctor was also at the clubhouse at the time.

According to Megan, the antler left a 5-inch gash in his side and split his kidney into two pieces. Doctors have told her he should make a full recovery, but the immediate concern is preventing any infections.

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(credit: CBS)

"The urologist told me 3 inches higher and we wouldn't even be sitting here," she said. "I'm just so thankful he's here with us and this isn't worse than it could have been."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information officer Jason Clay said fall is mating season for elk, also known as the rut, and it's best to keep as much distance as possible. His advice for golfers is to play around the elk or pick up the ball, rather than play through.

"During the rut, the bulls collect their harems and very aggressively will defend them, so it could definitely see a golf cart or people nearby as a challenger," Clay said.

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