WG&F Elk & Wolf Update
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 18, 2016
Elk Numbers: The Wyoming Game & Fish Departments reports in its Pinedale Region Monthly Newsletter that winter elk counts reveal most big game populations saw little change from last year. Consequently, Pinedale wildlife
managers do not plan to propose significant changes to any of the big game
hunting seasons for 2016. Managers will
present all the current big game numbers along with their proposed hunting
seasons at upcoming public meetings
scheduled for 6-8pm, March 14th at the
Marbleton Town Hall and March 16th at
the Pinedale Game and Fish office.
Brucellosis Surveillance: Elk were captured for the first time in 40 years in the corral trap at the Fish Creek feedground in the upper Gros Ventre drainage. Approximately 100 elk were tagged and 31 yearling and older cows were bled to measure the presence of brucellosis anti-bodies. Brucellosis personnel also trapped elk at the Alpine (Grey’s River) feedground, bleeding 66 yearling and older cows for brucellosis surveillance and again at the Muddy Creek feedground south of Boulder for the 12th year in a row.
Brucellosis prevalence among elk attending Muddy Creek fell from 37% in 2006 to 5% in 2010 after 107 seropositive elk
were killed during a pilot project to
determine if incidence of the disease could be reduced by test and slaughter methods. Brucellosis seroprevalence rose during 2012, the first year following a year with no elk removed, and had risen to 21% in 2015.
Wolves: South Pinedale Game Warden Jordan Kraft euthanized a bull elk that had been attacked by wolves and after performing a necropsy determined that the bull elk was susceptible to predation due to an archery wound on a front shoulder. Big Piney Game Warden Adam Hymas has been monitoring elk distribution around feedgrounds and native winter range to minimize damage to stored crops and prevent livestock commingling issues. Wolves have been killing elk on a regular basis at the McNeel Feedground near Bondurant, causing damage issues. The wolf problems have been relayed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.