SUGAR CITY, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho Fish and Game officers and Idaho State Police closed Highway 20, near the Sugar City exit, to move approximately 150 elk from the east side of the highway to the west.
For the third year in a row, a herd of elk is attempting to winter in the Sugar City area near the junction of US 20 and Highway 33. The elk are moving from their historic wintering area in Teton Canyon and have followed the river towards Sugar City and Rexburg.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been working with private landowners to discourage the animals. The agency launched a baiting operation in late December to lure the elk away from the highways. At the same time, patrols were organized and signs place to minimize disturbance to the elk.
However, several snowmobiles were seen chasing a group of elk along the Teton River Sunday afternoon.
“Chasing wildlife is illegal and creates a problem for both the animals and people,” says Doug Petersen Regional Conservation Officer. “Please be respectful and give wildlife some space, especially during this time of year when they are extremely vulnerable.”
Motorists should continue to use caution in the area and keep an eye out for wildlife crossing roads. It is possible for additional elk to be in the area next to the highway and they may decide to cross on their own at any time. Fish and Game staff will continue to monitor the situation.