Idaho Fish and Game personnel are conducting low-level helicopter surveys to count numbers of deer and elk in the state.

"People may see and hear low-flying helicopters in Idaho's outdoors throughout the winter," Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Bret Stansberry of Salmon said. "While we understand that some hunts will be in progress, we will do our best to temporarily avoid areas where we observe people."

Each flight will cover a portion of the hunt unit being surveyed. Flights normally take from three to eight hours to complete, depending on weather. Fish and Game personnel take precautions to disturb the animals as little as possible, Stansberry said. It takes between one and four weeks to survey an entire hunt area. Air surveys are planned from now until March. 

Fish and Game personnel plan to capture and collar hundreds of mule deer and elk throughout the state so the animals can be monitored to learn about herd survival in the winter and early spring. That information is used to determine future big game hunting seasons.

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