G&F Releases Plans for Elk Meat Donation
by Wyoming Game & Fish
March 2, 2007
Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) plans to donate elk meat from this year's test-and-removal pilot project through the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies (WFBR) in the upcoming weeks. WFBR will use the meat as part of the statewide Emergency Food Assistance Program. The meat will be distributed equitably to all of the counties throughout the state. However, there won't be enough for everyone, as the program captured considerably less elk than last year.
Thirteen elk were captured at the Muddy Creek elk trap on January 29th and were processed at a USDA slaughter facility in Idaho. To date, WGFD has removed 71 elk from the Muddy Creek feedground.
Approximately 1,600 lbs. of meat was processed from the elk, which tested seropositive for brucellosis. The public should not contact the food bank about obtaining donated elk meat, as they already have 42 sites throughout the state that serve about 10,000 people.
The meat will be divided into five-to-ten pound packages that will include proper food handling instructions to ensure safety from any food borne diseases. Although, the elk were positive for brucellosis, there has never been a case of humans contracting bovine brucellosis from eating or handling properly prepared meat.
"Hunters in western Wyoming regularly eat meat from brucellosis infected elk," said Scott Talbott, Assistant Wildlife Division Chief for Game and Fish. "The department wouldn't donate meat unless we were absolutely sure of its safety. We are very thankful that WFBR was willing to provide a fair means of distribution, which was a daunting task for WGFD last year."
"This is a wonderful opportunity to get healthy protein into the diets of those who need it," said Diane DeLozier, Director of the Wyoming Branch of WFBR. "The commodities we receive for donation have recently been in decline, while there may not be enough meat for everyone this year, in the upcoming years more people can benefit from this program."
The Governor's Brucellosis Coordination Team made the recommendation for the pilot test-and-removal experiment to last five years. Currently, WGFD plans to expand the project to nearby Fall Creek and Scab Creek feedgrounds, which are also in the Pinedale Elk Herd Unit, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The project has been limited to removing up to 10% (191 elk) of the elk herd unit's population each year.
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
WGFD Brucellosis Management
Muddy Creek Elk Feedground Brucellosis Testing (By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online, 1/31/07) 15 photos