About 21 mule deer fawns and 30 elk calves will be collared as part of a survey conducted by Idaho Fish and Game staff to track animal populations.
The surveys will be conducted in herd management areas near Salmon. Fish and Game Biologist Mike Demick said in a press release the surveys are used to monitor herd survival rates through the winter and early spring.
Demick said it is best to conduct aerial surveys in winter because spotting animals is easier, they tend to congregate more and it’s gentler on animals to collar them in the cold.
“We try our best to minimize stress and complete these projects early in winter when the animals aren’t yet feeling the accumulated effects that take hold in February and March,” said Wildlife Biologist Brett Stansberry. “The stress is over quickly and has less long-term impact on the animal compared to frequent encounters with people and pets.”
The surveys track the age and sex ratios of the animal populations. The information is used to determine rules and guidelines for future hunting seasons. The surveys will take about one week to complete.
Demick acknowledged the surveys don’t align with Fish and Game’s edict to leave wild animals alone during the winter, and that is why biologists will “move quickly and efficiently.” He said the process of herding, catching and collaring an animal takes between 20 and 30 minutes.