You can help wildlife by returning tracking collars intact

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is encouraging anyone who finds or harvests an animal with a radio collar or transmitter to return that collar as soon as possible to any Game and Fish office or employee.

“Many animals from deer to moose are fitted with collars that collect data, which are important to wildlife research,” said Tim Woolley, statewide wildlife and habitat management supervisor.

“You can still harvest an animal that is wearing a collar. We just need the collars returned so we can use them again and know the animal we were tracking was harvested.”

Throughout Wyoming, people may see collared big game animals including moose, mule deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep or elk. In addition, some game birds have been marked with radio telemetry devices as have large carnivores, including black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves.

“Sometimes we have animals that have been collared or radio-tagged in other states or by other agencies that turn up in Wyoming as well, and gaining insight into the travels of the animal allows managers to better understand their long-range movement patterns on the landscape,” said Woolley.

While it is not illegal to harvest a radio collared animal, Game and Fish asks the collar be removed without cutting or damaging the band or radio. The collars can be unbolted or slid off the neck of the animal. Cutting the band can damage the electronic components that extend into the belt material, and the collar cannot be put on another animal until repairs are made.

If you do find a collar, contact the nearest Game and Fish Department office or call the Cheyenne Headquarters at (307) 777-4600.