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Elk hunters submitted 815 brucellosis samples in 2021

Elk in Albany County Wyoming, USDA Photo: Ron Nichols
Elk in Albany County Wyoming, USDA Photo: Ron Nichols(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:57 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Hunters submitted 815 usable blood samples from their elk harvested during the 2021 hunting season to aid the Wyoming Game and Fish Department with monitoring brucellosis. The samples from bulls, cows and calves help Game and Fish monitor the disease.  Brucellosis is only found in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, but the department regularly monitors the entire state for the disease. As a thank you to hunters who submitted blood samples and other information from targeted areas, each complete submission was entered into a raffle to win high-quality outdoor equipment. Game and Fish is happy to announce the winners of the 2021 brucellosis monitoring raffle. 

“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. “Thank you to our generous raffle sponsors who provided the prizes and to each hunter who submitted a sample.” The winners are:

  • Blaine Saunders, Wyoming: Benelli Lupo Rifle, .300 Win Mag, donated by Benelli USA; Vortex Viper Gen II Rifle Scope, donated by Vortex; and Sig Sauer Oscar8 Spotting Scope donated by Sig Sauer.
  • Jesse Webb, Wyoming: Browning X-Bolt Rifle, 7mm Rem Mag, donated by the Cody Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation.
  • Steve Geertson, Wyoming: Badlands clothing package with nine items including base layer, pants, hoodies, jacket, backpack and a binocular case, donated by Badlands.
  • Jose Morales-Wade, Texas: 10x42 Maven binoculars donated by Maven.

The incentive raffle program is bolstering samples to the department and awareness about the wildlife disease. 

“Since beginning the raffle program in 2018 we’ve seen more hunters submitting samples for our research, especially in the Bighorns and the Wind River Indian Reservation,” Maichak said. 

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease found in elk and bison throughout the area surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. A state/federal eradication program has almost eliminated the disease in cattle, but infected elk and bison pose a continuing threat. 

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

Elk hunt areas targeted for surveillance in 2021 can be found on the interactive brucellosis map on the Game and Fish website.

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