Kentucky Elk Trapping 2013

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Will Bowling runs to get behind this group of elk. The elk were being herded into the handling facility where they could be examined and have blood work done. These elk are going to be used to reestablish elk populations in Missouri and Virginia. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

Kentucky is home to more than 10,000 free ranging elk.  These elk occur in 18 counties in southeastern Kentucky and are the result of efforts by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to reintroduce this once extirpated species.  As the heard in Kentucky continues to grow and do well, Kentucky has the opportunity to help other states reintroduce elk that were extirpated there.  The states of Missouri and Virginia both have requested elk from kentucky to reestablish their populations.

In December and January the last two years, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has captured elk to send to Missouri and Virginia.  A total of approximately 50 elk will be divided among the two states.  After all 50 elk are captured, the begin a series of tests to ensure they are disease free before being moved.

I had the opportunity to joint the biologists and vets from Kentucky, Missouri, and Virginia as they ran the elk through the examination and testing progress.  They have the process down to a science and each animal is handled and tested with an absolute minimum of disturbance.  It is amazing to watch and be a part of it.

 

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife tech Joe McDermott holds a blindfolded cow elk while veternarians from Virginia and Missouri draw blood and examine the elk. She is being held firmly by a "crush" which was developed for working on cattle. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
University of Kentucky Ph.D candidate, John Hast, firmly holds a cow elk. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

An elk calf enters the holding stalls from the outside pen. As you can tell, it was a very cold day. The cold temperatures really helps reduce stress on the animals but is pretty tough on the people. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

Elk calves hold up trying to decide if they want to enter the pens. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

An elk calf runs out of the facility after having its tests done. The ear tags are used to identify individual animals. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

John Hast herds a calf aftershe is released from the crush. It is important to have someone to guide the elk once released from the crush to make sure they go the right direction. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife tech Caleb Haymes grabs an elk as it enters the crush. John Hast is waiting to blindfold the elk. The whole process takes less than 2 seconds. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

One of the group splits out rather than go into the holding facility. A 350 pound elk running at you wide open is a pretty scary thing. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

Missouri Department of Conservation Vet, Kelly Strakas, draws medicine for one of the elk. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

An elk is shaved to allow blood to be drawn. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife elk program coordinator, Tina Brunjes checks to make sure the weight of the elk has been recorded. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

Tools of the trade. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.

 

A Pit Tag is inserted in an elk to help identify it later in case ear tags are lost. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

 

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