Elk hunters are important for brucellosis monitoring

Hunters can win prizes for returning samples

9/8/2020 5:26:21 PM

Cheyenne - Wyoming hunters who pursue elk in a brucellosis monitoring hunt area are urged to submit blood samples and other information about their harvest to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Brucellosis is a bacterial disease endemic in elk and bison throughout the area surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. 

“Hunters play a key role with brucellosis surveillance in Wyoming’s elk populations by voluntarily collecting and submitting blood samples,” said Eric Maichak, Cody regional disease biologist. 

Game and Fish is targeting this year’s monitoring in Elk Hunt Areas 8-13, 15, 16, 19, 21, 25, 27, 28, 33-41, 45, 47-49, 54, 58, 61-64, 66, 100, 106-108, 110, 114, 120, 125, 127 and 130. A map is available online.

About 8,000 kits will be mailed to hunters in 2020, arriving two weeks prior to the hunt area opening date. 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.

“Game and Fish appreciates the effort hunters make to submit samples,” Maichak said.

To collect a sample:

  • Collect blood from the neck, femoral artery (rear leg) or chest cavity immediately after harvest.

  • Do not allow the blood sample to spoil or freeze; keep it cool.

  • Fill in the data section on the instruction card with specific information.

  • Return the kit to any Game and Fish field personnel, regional office or sample cooler.

  • Kits may also be returned via mail with the return mail sticker included in the kit.

Collect a blood sample from the elk immediately after harvest with a Game and Fish sample kit, Carry your blood tube or the entire sampling kit with you in the field,” Maichak said. “A fresh sample is best, so please return quickly,” 

Maichak also cautions hunters if you harvest an elk with a radio collar, do not cut the collar; return it to Game and Fish personnel.

As a thank you, hunters who submit a blood sample from their harvest will be entered into a raffle to win high-quality outdoor equipment. Game and Fish established the brucellosis raffle to encourage hunters to continue to submit samples.

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

The Grand Prize Package: 

  • Weatherby Weathermark V rifle in 6.5 x 300 Weatherby - Donated by the Wyoming Sportsman’s Group of Gillette.

  • Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50 PA rifle scope - Donated by Vortex Optics

  • Sig Sauer Oscar8 27-55x80 Spotting Scope- Donated by Sig Sauer

Additional Prizes:

  • Browning X-Bolt rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor - Donated by the Wyoming and Cody Chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

  • Weatherby Weathermark V rifle in 6.5 x 300 Weatherby - Donated by the Wyoming Sportsman’s Group, Gillette 

  • Maven C1 binoculars (8x42 or 10x42) - Donated by Maven and the Wyoming chapter of The Wildlife Society

  • Game and Fish sweatshirts - Donated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Those who hold 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 2021. For more information on brucellosis and the raffle visit the Brucellosis in Wyoming Wildlife webpage.


(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))

- WGFD -

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