SHERIDAN- In cooperation with the Wyoming State Veterinarian's office, 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.
“This is an opportunity for hunters to take an active role in helping us learn more about the potential of brucellosis infection in elk in the Bighorn Mountains,” said Tim Woolley, wildlife management coordinator with the Game and Fish in Cody. “The information gathered may also be used to keep livestock producers adequately informed of the possible spread of the disease.”
“Two elk harvested in the Bighorns last fall tested seropositive for brucellosis and we are stepping up surveillance efforts to determine if the disease exists in this area,” Woolley said. “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. “Unfortunately, only about fifty percent of returned blood samples are usable,” Woolley said.
To collect a useable blood sample, hunters should follow these tips:
- Carry your sample kit with you in the field; collect the blood sample as soon as possible. - Blood should be collected from the neck, heart, or chest cavity.
- The blood sample should never be frozen; it should be kept cool.
- Fill out the data section on the instruction sheet, providing specific information regarding the location and major drainage of your harvest.
- Follow the packing and shipping recommendations. Use the postage-free mailer and drop it in the nearest post office box, or drop by the Cody or Sheridan Regional Offices.
- Ship the sample as soon as possible (in one to two days) to prevent spoilage.
Game and Fish will mail blood sample kits to elk hunters holding limited quota licensees for hunt areas in the Bighorn Mountains. If you do not receive one or are hunting in a general area, blood kits are available at game warden stations and the Sheridan or Cody Game and Fish regional office.