Montana’s Fish & Wildlife Commission will seek comment through Sept. 13 on a work plan aimed at reducing the risk of transmitting brucellosis infections between elk and livestock in southwestern Montana.
The 2013-14 work plan – based on recommendations of the Elk Management Guidelines in Areas with Brucellosis Working Group – continues the risk management course set in motion last winter and calls once more for the oversight of local work groups. Creating local working groups is a high priority for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, officials said.
Comment was to end Sept. 6 but the comment period was extended to accommodate requests for more time to examine the work plan.
Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection in domestic animals, wildlife and humans worldwide. In Montana, brucellosis has been detected in elk, bison and, several years ago, in cattle in areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park. The disease results in miscarriages in some pregnant animals, including domestic cattle, bison and elk.
Key work plan efforts for 2014 would include providing landowners resources for hazing and fencing to help keep elk away from livestock from January to June, the high-risk months for transmitting the bacteria. It also sanctions limited late season management hunts and landowner kill permits when events demand.