Game and Fish collars elk west of Sheridan

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — On Feb. 16 and 17, Wyoming Game and Fish put collars on 25 cow elk in an area west of Sheridan from Wolf Creek northwest along the face of the mountain onto the Kerns Wildlife Habitat Management Area. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department contracted with Native Range Capture Services, Inc. to capture and place the radio collars on the elk. The cow elk were collared as part of a larger brucellosis surveillance study that will take place in the northern Bighorn Mountains over the next few years. A small number of elk testing seropositive for the brucella bacteria were found during the 2012-2014 hunting seasons on the west side of the Bighorns. “The elk were collared to refine seasonal habitat use and movements of elk from the east side of the northern Bighorn Mountains. We will be able to determine if there are elk moving from the east side of the mountain range to the west side and vice versa," Sheridan area Game and Fish Department Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas said. “Elk were collared on the west side of the northern Bighorns to complement the collaring we did on this side," Thomas said. [image: Inline image 2] *The net gun used in the collaring Feb. 16 and 17. h/t Wyoming Game and Fish* For as long as the batteries last, which should be about six years, the collars will transmit the elk’s location twice a day to a computer database. Biologists will be able to access that database to observe the location of each individual elk to determine its daily and seasonal travel habits. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is encouraging hunters to not shoot collared elk in the northern Bighorns for the next few hunting seasons. If a collared elk is harvested, the hunter should report the harvest and turn the collar in to Game and Fish so it can be reused. A small helicopter was used to maneuver an elk into an opening and then a net gun was used to fire a net over the elk. The elk would become entangled in the net and a person called a “mugger” would exit the helicopter to process the elk. Once the elk’s legs were secured with a belt like strap, the net was removed and the radio collar affixed around the elk’s neck, ear tags were placed in each ear and a blood sample was taken. This entire process took just a few minutes and then the elk was released. Native Range Capture Services was able to collar 25 elk in less than seven hours. [image: Inline image 1] *Above: The collars used for tracking elk in the Bighorns. **Feature photo: Small helicopter used by Native Range Capture Services in the elk collaring Feb. 16 and 17. h/t Wyoming Game and Fish.* #dally #news