Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area is a working ranch with the mission of enhancing big game winter range and other critical habitats, thereby maintaining healthy rangelands for all wildlife. The Ranch also provides facilities and support for long-term wildlife and habitat research as well as increasing public awareness and personal stewardship through community outreach and education programs. The Wildlife Management Area promotes year round public access for watchable wildlife, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
Research at the Ranch is funded through the Wildlife Restoration Act and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has also contributed tens of thousands of dollars, aiding in the development of state-of-the-art elk handling facilities.
Each winter, a number of elk receive ear tags and are weighed in the trapping facilities. We use ear tags to identify individual elk and study population characteristics. Each year, a representative sample of elk are trapped in our research pens and tested for brucellosis and occasionally tuberculoses. The sample size is determined by the size of the herd and the DWR is given direction on testing by the Department of Agriculture and our DWR disease specialist.