SALMON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Idaho Fish and Game Department biologists will use low-flying helicopters to radio collar deer and elk and survey elk populations in the Salmon area.
Beginning in early January, they will collar approximately 21 mule deer fawns and 30 elk calves in Units 28, 36A and 36B. The animals will be monitored to get a better idea of herd survival through the winter and early spring.
Recognizing that helicopter activity will have adverse effects on wildlife, biologists plan to work quickly. It takes about 20-30 minutes to herd, catch, and release an animal with a collar.
"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 Brett Stansberry, wildlife biologist based in Salmon. "The stress is over quickly and has less long-term impact on the animal compared to frequent encounters with people and pets."
Additional surveys are also planned in Units 30 and 30A to assess elk population trends, age and sex ratios.
Biologists said the surveys help determine the overall health of Idaho's herds, which plays an important role in determining future hunting seasons.