Idaho’s harsh winter of 2016-17 did not have near the negative effect on elk that it did on mule deer. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) reports that 96 percent of collared cows and 54 percent of collared calves survived compared to 90 percent of collared does and just 30 percent of collared fawns.
Over the last 19 years, Fish and Game biologists placed collars on deer in early winter and monitored them through spring. Last winter’s 30 percent fawn survival was four points above the lowest on record, which was in 2010-11, but well below the 19-year average of 57 percent.
Winter fawn monitoring provides vital, real-time information for setting seasons and allows biologists to quickly react to changing herd sizes, which they did this year by reducing doe tags in many areas.
Go here to view a video of IDFG’s winter elk collaring operation.
(Photo credit: IDFG/Glenn Oakley)