Winter is a busy season for wildlife staff across the state. Winter wildlife work will continue throughout the month of January. Staff will be capturing elk in Unit 10A over the next couple of weeks. These capture efforts are part of a larger elk survivability study.
Aerial elk and deer surveys will begin in Unit 14 mid-January (dependent on weather) and will continue until completed. Bighorn sheep surveys in Hells Canyon will also be conducted during this time.
Survey flights are scheduled to cover the same units at the same time every year to make the information gathered comparable from year to year. The goal is to compare population trends, and age and sex ratios. A helicopter flying low and slow over remote areas of the state is the most efficient tool for gathering big game herd information. Fish and Game’ strives to minimize disturbance to big game animals while at the same time colleting important biological data.
Aerial surveys are conducted during winter months when animals are congregated on lower elevation winter ranges. The winter months also bring two other requirements needed to conduct aerial surveys, clear weather for good visibility and snow covering that aid in location and identification of species.
For questions or more information on capture work or surveys, contact the Idaho Fish and Game office in the Clearwater Region at (208) 799-5010.