The Kerns Wildlife Habitat area in the Big Horn Mountains northwest of Sheridan that's managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has re-opened to motorized vehicles.
Warren Mischke of the game office in Sheridan says conditions had improved enough after about a week of closure to allow travel to resume.
Since the area is reopening, he's also reminding hunters to take along their brucellosis test kits. He said the game department needs more samples, to keep an eye on the Big Horn herd after two of the animals were infected last year. The disease can be devastating, he said, because it can cause an elk to abort its fetus, and not only lose its young but infect another.
To collect a useable blood sample, he said, hunters must carry the sample kit in the field. The blood should be taken from the neck, heart or chest cavity and kept cool, but not frozen.
And, he said, the sample must be shipped as soon as possible, within two days, to prevent spoilage, or delivered in person to a regional office, like the one in Sheridan. Taking the sample correctly is crucial, he said, and a waste of time if not. Of the 160 samples turned in by Saturday, only a little over half, 89, were suitable for testing.
A video presentation of the procedure is posted on the department’s website at wgfd.wyo.gov.