The Idaho Department of Fish and Game with input from the Southeast Idaho Winter Feeding Advisory Committee has authorized a feed site on the west side of the Ninety Percent Range in Caribou County to bait approximately 200 elk from a landowner’s property.
No winter feeding emergency has been declared for wildlife in Southeast Idaho. This baiting effort is simply helping to alleviate interaction between a herd of elk and a landowner’s livestock. Elk will sometimes come into livestock feedlines, which is concerning because the disease brucellosis can be transmitted between elk and livestock.
The WFAC, which is composed of citizen volunteers, and Idaho Fish and Game has been closely monitoring the weather and its impacts on wintering wildlife throughout the region this winter. Both the WFAC and staff have been making observations in the field and reporting weather conditions, big game animal movements, and wildlife/human conflicts in regular winter feeding meetings.
Currently, animals appear to be in good body condition for this time of year and are fairly spread out across their winter ranges. Though snow is deep in some areas, exposed vegetation and access to areas with shallow snows or windswept slopes is available throughout the region. Prior to the recent storms this month, the region had experienced snow storms followed by melting events, which afforded big game animals fairly consistent access to vegetation and good mobility. This means that deer and elk have been able to hang onto more of their fat reserves than if the weather and snow conditions had been more severe. Of course, the WFAC and Idaho Fish and Game will continue to closely monitor weather and snow conditions throughout the region until the winter season ends.