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Helicopter flights underway statewide for big game surveys

helicopter_James Brower Idaho Fish and Game
James Brower Idaho Fish and Game
Upper Snake elk 2018 helicopter survey_James Brower Idaho Fish and Game
James Brower Idaho Fish and Game
doe and fawn mule deer deep in snow_IDFG

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho Fish and Game staff have started using low-flying helicopters to count deer and elk populations.

“These surveys provide crucial information to guide our management decisions,” Upper Snake Region Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks said. “Flying is not without risk, but it is how we provide accurate information to hunters about the health and distribution of our big game herds.”

IDFG said care is taken to minimize disturbance to the animals and prevent the expenditure of valuable energy reserves. Generally, the information being collected can be gathered within a few minutes or less of an animal being spotted.

“There are some late-season hunts in progress during this time, and we are cognizant of that,” Hendricks said. “We will do our best to minimize the disturbance to hunters should we encounter them.”

Flights are scheduled across the state including the Upper Snake Region into March.

In addition to surveys, the department will capture and collar hundreds of mule deer and elk throughout the state. Crews will then monitor the collared animals to get a better idea of herd survival through the winter and early spring.

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