Bighorn Mountains elk hunters needed for brucellosis monitoring

Cheyenne – Elk in Wyoming might be on the move this weekend if a blast of winter weather causes them to migrate to lower elevation habitats. For those hunting in Elk Hunt Area 49 in the southwest portion of the Bighorn Mountains, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department needs your help. Many elk hunters in this area have collected blood samples from harvested elk in the past, and Game and Fish is asking for hunters’ continued support with blood collections.

In 2012, brucellosis was discovered in elk of the northern Bighorn Mountains. Since that initial discovery, Game and Fish have documented a few elk each year with the disease, in the Bighorns.

“To better understand disease, to better manage wildlife and because of the importance of this disease to the livestock industry of the state, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is increasing the surveillance effort in Elk Hunt Area 49. For hunters, who have not already received a blood collection kit in the mail, one will be sent to you in a few days. Please carry the blood tube with you in the field and fill it with blood from your harvested elk as soon as possible by following directions provided in the blood kit. The blood sample may be returned by mailing from the nearest post office, or placing it in collection coolers positioned near access roads to your hunt area,” said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish’s Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor.

Any hunter who has already harvested an elk can disregard this request. Hunters can discard the unused blood collection kit, keep it for next year’s hunting season, drop off at the nearest Game and Fish office, or give it to any Game and Fish employee you run into in the field for recycling.

“Thanks again to elk hunters for their assistance in our disease surveillance efforts,” said Edwards.

If you have any questions, please contact the Wildlife Health Laboratory, at 307-745-5865. We appreciate your help and support.