SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) - Beginning this week, Idaho Fish and Game staff will take to the air to get a closer look at deer numbers, including several low-level helicopter surveys planned in the Salmon and Challis areas.
The purpose is to gather abundance and herd composition information that helps game managers understand population numbers and trends.
"People may see and hear low-flying helicopters near Salmon and Challis in the coming weeks,” Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Bret Stansberry of Salmon said. “While we understand that folks are still recreating, we will do our best to temporarily avoid areas where we observe people.”
These survey flights are expected to be completed by mid-December if the weather permits. In January, Fish and Game biologists will conduct elk surveys in the Beaverhead Zone followed by bighorn sheep surveys along the Middle Fork Salmon River in March.
Care is taken to minimize disturbance to the animals and prevent the expenditure of valuable energy reserves. Generally, the information collected can be gathered within a few minutes or less of an animal being spotted.
This information, together with the flight survey data, will be used to determine the overall health of Idaho’s big game herds, which plays a critical role in determining future hunting seasons.