Mild weather so far means more young deer and elk are surviving this winter, which will likely grow herds and produce more game for big game hunters next fall.
Idaho Fish and Game biologists have been monitoring 244 mule deer fawns and 246 elk calves that were captured earlier this winter and fitted with telemetry collars.
Through the end of February, monitoring showed 88 percent of the fawns and 97 percent of the calves were still alive. That compares with 55 percent of the fawns and 80 percent of the calves surviving through February last winter.
Less snow, especially at lower elevations, and warmer temperatures means fewer animals are likely to die from malnutrition, predation and other factors that increase mortality during a difficult winter.
Full story: https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/monitoring-shows-winter-big-game-survival-well-above-last-years-so-far
Shed hunt responsibly to protect big game animals
As the winter months pass and spring approaches, many people suffering from cabin fever head to Idaho's hills in search of the antlers big game animals have dropped.
Antler hunting, more commonly known as shed hunting, is a fun activity and a reason to get back in the hills. All a person needs is sharp eye and a willingness to endure the ever-changing weather of Idaho.
But it's important to remember that while we're having an early case of spring fever, animals are still trying to get through winter. Although this winter has been relatively mild and adult survival will likely be high, young animals, especially fawns, might still be struggling to get through their first winter.
"Wintering big game animals are very susceptible to any kind of disturbance whether it is from passing motorists, domestic dogs or shed hunters in late winter and early spring," said Daryl Meints, Fish and Game's deer and elk coordinator. "There's growing concern over shed hunters putting additional stress on wintering big game in many areas of the state."
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