A video demonstrating the proper collection of a blood sample to test for brucellosis is available at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website, wgfd.wyo.gov.
Game and Fish is cooperating with the Wyoming State Veterinarian's office, to conduct brucellosis surveillance in the Bighorn Mountains. Some elk hunters received a blood sample collection kit. They can help by collecting blood samples from elk immediately after harvest.
Tim Woolley, Wildlife Management Coordinator with Game and Fish in Cody, said “This is an opportunity for hunters to take an active role in helping us learn more about the potential of brucellosis infection in elk in the Bighorn Mountains. The information gathered may also be used to keep livestock producers adequately informed of the possible spread of the disease.”
Wooley said two elk harvested in the Bighorns last fall tested seropositive for brucellosis and Game and Fish is stepping up surveillance efforts to determine if the disease exists in this area.
He added, “Animals that test seropositive to brucellosis do not necessarily carry the disease; they could have just been exposed to the bacteria at some time in their life.”
Brucellosis surveillance efforts across the state rely on hunters voluntarily collecting blood samples from harvested elk. “Unfortunately, only about fifty percent of returned blood samples are usable,” Woolley said.
To collect a useable blood sample, hunters should:
- Carry their sample kit with them in the field; and collect the blood sample as soon as possible.
- Blood should be collected from the neck, heart, or chest cavity.
- The blood sample should never be frozen; it should be kept cool.
- Fill out the data section on the instruction sheet, providing specific information regarding the location and major drainage of your harvest.
- Follow the packing and shipping recommendations. Use the postage-paid mailer and drop it in the nearest post office box, or deliver it to the Cody or Sheridan regional offices in-person.
- Ship the sample as soon as possible (within one to two days) to prevent spoilage.
Game and Fish will mail blood sample kits to some elk hunters holding limited-quota licenses for hunt areas in the Bighorn Mountains. If you do not receive a kit or will be hunting in a general area, you can obtain a blood sample collection kit at game warden stations and the Sheridan or Cody regional offices.