Elk Ecology Research Continues

Elk Ecology Research Continues

BFH Biologist Jared Rogerson prepares to land a tranquilizer dart in the rump of a cow elk. Wyoming Game and Fish photo

PINEDALE– Jackson and Pinedale personnel in the Game and Fish Department’s Brucellosis-Feedgrounds-Habitat (BFH) darted elk on the Jewett feedground in the Wyoming Range west of Daniel.

Adult cow elk were tranquilized from the hay sled and fitted with a GPS collar to document fine-scale movements over the next 2-3 years. In addition, blood samples were collected to continue longterm brucellosis seroprevalence trend data.

Wildlife Biologist Gary Fralick draws a blood sample from an elk before fitting it with a GPS collar. Wyoming Game and Fish photo

Why the Information is Useful

This information is also useful for developing elk seasonal range maps, determining areas of high brucellosis transmission risk and providing land managers with additional information to make better resource management decisions.

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The collars are continually recovered and refurbished with new batteries and drop-off mechanisms and redeployed to continue to collect GPS data on elk.

Big Piney Game Warden Adam Hymas fastens an ear tag before a reversal drug is administered and the cow elk heads back to the herd. Wyoming Game and Fish photo

Game and Fish Has Collected Over 600 Years of GPS Collar Data

The Game and Fish Department’s BFH program personnel, with collaborators from Iowa State University and the University of Wyoming, have collected a total of over 600 years of GPS collar data from elk captured on 20 feedgrounds and seven native winter range sites adjacent to feedgrounds from 2007 to 2018.