Bovine tuberculosis is a bacteria that can occur in some wildlife species, including free-ranging elk.

The bacteria generally are associated with thick yellow pus, either in lungs or lymph nodes. Internally, small round tubercles ("pearls") may be found in the lungs, liver, kidneys, or lymph nodes, or in the lining of the ribcage.

Learn more about bovine tuberculosis:

Precautions for Hunters

  • Wear waterproof gloves whenever you handle the internal tissues of your harvested animal.
  • Wash your hands, knives, and clothes in warm soapy water.
  • Cook meat well, until it is thoroughly cooked.
  • Smoking, freezing, or drying meat will NOT destroy the bacteria.
  • If you see any suspicious abscess in the lymph nodes, lungs, or chest cavity of your harvested animal, contact a Fish and Wildlife office at:
  • Talk to your doctor should you have concerns about your health.

Updated: Nov 10, 2016