The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will conduct brucellosis surveillance in the Bighorn Mountains by collecting blood samples from hunter harvested elk this fall.
Game and Fish is asking successful elk hunters to assist in this effort by collecting blood samples from elk immediately after harvest.
“After two elk harvested in the Bighorns tested seropositive for brucellosis in 2012, surveillance efforts were substantially increased in the Bighorn Mountains. Sampling in 2013 documented two additional seropositive cow elk from Hunt Area 40,” said said Tim Woolley, wildlife management coordinator with the Game and Fish in Cody. “Animals that test seropostive to brucellosis do not necessarily carry the disease; they could have just been exposed to the bacteria at some time in their life.”
Brucellosis surveillance efforts across the state rely on hunters voluntarily collecting blood samples from harvested elk.
“Thanks to hunters, last year we received 793 blood samples from elk harvested across the entire Bighorn Mountains,” Woolley said. “Sixty-seven percent of those were useable samples, which was an increase in usable samples from 2012."
A video on how to collect a blood sample from a harvested elk can be found at http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/wildlife-1000293.aspx.
Game and Fish will mail blood sample kits to elk hunters holding limited quota licensees for hunt areas in the Bighorn Mountains.