Wyoming Game and Fish Benefits From Hundreds of Hunter Samples

Wyoming Game and Fish Benefits From Hundreds of Hunter Samples

Written by on April 19, 2022

Hunters submitted hundred of blood samples from elk harvested during the 2021 hunting season, aiding Wyoming Game and Fish as they monitor brucellosis.

Hunters submitted 815 usable blood samples from their elk harvested during the last hunting season. Samples from bulls, cows, and calves were submitted to Game and Fish personnel so they can monitor the fatal disease.

“It’s sometimes difficult to remember to take a blood sample during the excitement of a hunt — but many people made a difference for the health of wildlife by submitting blood samples to help Game and Fish monitor brucellosis in Wyoming,” said Eric Maichak, Game and Fish disease biologist.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease found in elk and bison throughout the area and every state surrounding Yellowstone National Park.

The disease has been present in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. While brucellosis is only found in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, the department regularly monitors the entire state for the disease.

A state/federal eradication program has almost eliminated the disease in cattle. However, infected elk and bison continue to threaten cattle and other unaffected herds. 

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

Similar samples are also requested from mule deer taken in specific deer hunt areas. Wyoming Game and Fish uses those samples to monitor the spread of chronic wasting disease – another fatal illness also found in Wyoming elk.

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