Winter is a busy season for wildlife staff across the state. Winter wildlife work starts now and will extend through the end of January. Elk and moose captures will begin the week of December 12th in units 8, 8A, 10A. These capture efforts are part of a larger elk and moose calf survivability study. Additional capture efforts will take place in unit 14 to assess movement patterns of depredating elk.
Aerial elk surveys will begin on the Palouse in big game management units 8 and 8A early January (dependent on weather and helicopter availability) and will continue until completed.
The 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.
Aerial surveys are conducted mostly during winter months when the animals are congregated on lower elevation winter ranges. The winter months also bring two requirements needed to conduct accurate surveys, clear weather for good visibility and snow covering that aid in locating and identification of species.
Results from these aerial surveys will be available during big game season setting in February.
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.