Bowhunters Warned of Wyoming Elk Lichen Poisoning

The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish has an important warning for bowhunter’s hunting and consuming elk.  Read on to learn why you should take a closer look at that next elk you’re about to arrow.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is warning elk hunters in the Wamsutter area not to shoot elk that appear sick or paralyzed after finding a cow elk in September that died of lichen poisoning.

Lichen poisoning, which was responsible for the death of more than 500 elk in Wyoming in the past decade, causes animals to be paralyzed, and they typically die of starvation or predation.

Wildlife officials do not know the possible health effects on humans if infected meat is eaten, said Daryl Lutz, Lander regional wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Wyoming Elk Lichen Poisoning

“That’s why we are discouraging people from harvesting any elk that look suspicious,” Lutz said.

Wyoming elk have died from lichen poisoning in the past. More than 500 elk died in the 2004 and 2008 winters, according to the Game and Fish Department release.

The most recent incident of lichen poisoning was earlier in the year than past ones, which may be because of dry conditions and lack of food, Lutz said.

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