Elk NetworkWyoming Hunters Urged to Submit Elk Blood Samples for Brucellosis Research

General | September 24, 2019

Wyoming elk hunters in brucellosis monitoring areas are urged to submit blood samples and other information about elk they harvest. As a thank you hunters will be entered into a raffle to win high-quality outdoor equipment. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department established the brucellosis raffle to encourage hunters to continue to submit samples.

Leading outdoor manufacturers and conservation organizations donated equipment to the raffle to support brucellosis monitoring. Raffle prizes include:

  • Ruger American Predator rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, donated by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming and Cody chapters with a Vortex Viper HS LR 6-24×50 FFP rifle scope, donated by Vortex Optics
  • Leupold SX–5 Santium HD 27-55 x 80 spotting scope, donated by Leupold.
  • Maven C1 binoculars (8×42 or 10×42), donated by Maven and the Wyoming chapter of The Wildlife Society
  • Game and Fish sweatshirts and hats

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease endemic in elk and bison throughout the area surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. A state/federal eradication program has almost eliminated the disease in cattle, but infected elk and bison pose a continuing threat.

“Each year, the Game and Fish asks hunters to collect blood samples from harvested elk to track the spread and prevalence of brucellosis and aid in the development of possible management actions,” said Eric Maichak, Cody regional disease biologist.

Surveillance for 2019 will concentrate on the Bighorns and elk hunt areas that surround the eastern Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) border. Surveillance within the DSA will shift to the Cody area. Game and Fish is also monitoring the southwestern part of the state in elk areas 30, 31, 32, 106, 107 and 124. About 9,000 kits will be mailed to hunters, arriving two weeks prior to the hunt area opening date.

“Voluntary hunter participation is fundamental for the program’s success and Game and Fish appreciates hunter efforts to submit samples,” Maichak said.

Those who draw multiple elk licenses and receive multiple kits will be entered into the raffle for each kit returned. The raffle drawing will be held in March 2020.

Not all hunters with a license in surveillance areas will receive a testing kit via mail, but are encouraged to contact Game and Fish to obtain a kit and participate in the program and raffle. See how to take a blood sample with this video.

(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)