Brucellosis Testing Prompts Special Elk Hunt

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In response to two cows from a Campbell County cattle herd testing positive for brucellosis this summer, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is offering a depredation elk hunt with the cooperation of private landowners in area 123 southeast of Gillette from Oct. 19 - Nov. 7.

The purpose of the hunt is to obtain elk blood samples to test for exposure to brucellosis. The special antlerless elk hunt will be conducted as part of an extensive disease surveillance and testing program this fall throughout northeast Wyoming. More than 1,200 brucellosis-testing kits have already been mailed to limited quota license hunters in nearby hunt areas.

To obtain a statistically valid sample in the Rochelle Hills elk herd, a total of 130 elk need to be tested. Based on the expected harvest and submission of usable samples to be obtained from the regular season hunts in areas 113 and 126 directly south of area 123, it will be necessary to collect approximately 100 samples from area 123.

To get the required number of blood samples, a depredation season will be held with cooperating landowners allowing access. If the number of harvested samples is not adequate, other collection methods will be attempted, including net gunning.

The G&F will issue 100 licenses for the depredation hunt. To apply for this special season, hunters must submit a depredation hunt application by 5 p.m. Oct. 7, to: Sheridan Regional Office, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Box 6249, Sheridan, WY 82801. Hunters should not submit fees with the application and faxes will not be accepted.

Applications are available at G&F offices and on the G&F Web page. If there are more applications than licenses, the G&F will conduct a random drawing for the licenses. Applications received after Oct. 7 will only be considered if sufficient numbers of hunters do not apply.

Potential hunters will be contacted by telephone and be required to attend a meeting Oct. 18, 6 p.m. at the Campbell County Library in Gillette. Hunters will be given instructions for the mandatory collecting of blood samples. Licenses will be issued and paid for at the meeting. Nonresidents must pay for their license with money order, certified check or cash.

The resident elk license costs $42; youth $25. The nonresident license is $480 and nonresident youth $275. Hunters are eligible to purchase one depredation license, even if they have other regular season elk licenses. By Wyoming statute a person may harvest a maximum of two elk per year. All big game hunting regulations and laws apply during the depredation season.