G&F ups disease surveillance in Jackson elk herd
by Wyoming Game & Fish
October 19, 2005
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) and National Elk Refuge (NER) hunters to collect blood samples from harvested elk for brucellosis surveillance. Hunting seasons starts October 20th in GTNP and October 22th on the NER. Hunters can enter a drawing to hunt on the NER each Friday at 4:00 PM at the Teton County Fairgrounds, from October 21-November 25th.
Blood collection kits can be obtained from the Jackson Game and Fish office, at 420 N. Cache, while purchasing hunting licenses, or in the field from game wardens and biologists. NER hunters can receive a blood kit at the license draw.
Successful hunters can deposit blood samples at the entrance to the NER, GTNP Moose Visitor Center, or the Jackson Game and Fish office. These locations will have an obvious, marked cooler for samples.
"It's important that hunters take blood very soon after harvesting an animal," said Jill Miller, G&F Brucellosis-Feedground-Habitat biologist. There are simple instructions in the hunter packets on how to take a sample.
The G&F is particularly interested in obtaining more information on brucellosis seroprevalence in the Jackson Elk Herd this year. "We have a relatively small sample size from the Jackson Elk Herd," said Hank Edwards, G&F wildlife disease specialist. "We're increasing our surveillance to better understand the distribution of brucellosis in this important herd and to make sound management decisions."
G&F will again be collecting samples for chronic wasting disease from GTNP and NER hunters this year. Head collection barrels will be located at the access parking lots on the NER, Moose Visitor Center, and Moran entrance to GTNP. Hunters who are interested in receiving the results of their animal can leave their elk heads at the Jackson Game and Fish office during regular office hours and receive a barcode number they can check online.
"G&F routinely depends on hunters to get the samples we need," said Miller. "Hunters have shown us they care about having healthy herds and we're very appreciative of their help."
To pick up blood collection kits, or for more information on brucellosis or chronic wasting disease, hunters can contact the Jackson Game and Fish Department office at (307) 733-2321 or 1-800-423-4113 (in-state only).