Interesting case, sounds like all involved have been doing some great forensic/research work.
However I find it odd that the elk were ingesting the lichen in the first place considering that it is in the soil. Perhaps a long dry winter was driving them to eat stuff they normally don't in high quantities.
It is good to know it is something common causing the issue. Speculation was running wild that it was human poisoning, some new form of cwd, a new diesease, alien abuduction, etc.... I had even read people theorizing that the elk in true lemming style had just "run themselves to death".
One of the things I struggle with when afield is keeping my rifle clean and in good working order. Small amounts of dust and dirt collect moisture; moisture can freeze rendering your action immovable when you need it most. I have seen this happen on multiple occasions, and over time, I’ve learned the cause and how to prevent this from happening.
The first thing that you need to avoid before going afield is leaving excess oil on the gun. Oil will trap dirt and sand in all the wrong places....