LEWISTON – Typically, many people think of the ‘field season’ as the spring/summer, however, a large portion of wildlife work is conducted throughout the winter season. Idaho Fish and Game Wildlife staff will be busy conducting aerial surveys and capture work throughout the Clearwater Region during the next couple of months.
Area residents should be aware that they may see the survey helicopter flying low over the landscape during December and January.
Mule deer surveys are planned for Game Management Unit (GMU) 14 (areas from Grangeville to Riggins) between Dec 11-15 to determine herd composition ratios (fawns/does, bucks/does). Staff will also be capturing elk in the greater Slate Creek area of GMU 14 and moose in GMU’s 8, 8A, and 10A between Dec 15-21 to place radio transmitters on animals to determine movement patterns and survival. Fish and Game will also be surveying for herd abundance in GMU 14 for mule deer and elk. Elk will be surveyed in the Palouse zone between Jan 1-30.
The capture and survey schedule may need to be adjusted depending on snow cover/weather conditions, helicopter availability and how much area staff can cover (progress made) each day. The safety of IDFG staff, the public, and the wildlife is the priority. Various factors are considered when scheduling winter wildlife work. Some of these variables are out of IDFG’s control, so it is important to be flexible and adapt as needed.
Check out the link here to learn more about why aerial surveys are important to manage big game species in Idaho.
For questions or more information, contact the regional office at (208) 799-5010.