Harsh Winter Prompts Emergency Feeding Of Idaho Big Game

Jan 24, 2017

Mule deer walk through the Payette National Forest in Idaho, in this 1998 photo.
Credit Troy Maben / AP Images

The harsh winter across much of Idaho has caused problems for some big game. Wildlife officials have begun emergency feeding for vulnerable species.

The unusually cold and snowy winter in southern Idaho has forced some animals to lower elevations in search of food. Idaho Fish and Game officials say winter feeding is necessary to help some big game get through the tough season, especially mule deer. The practice also helps deter the wildlife from highways and private property.

In a press release, the agency says most big game animals started off the winter in good physical shape.

Some deaths are always expected, but wildlife managers assess conditions each year to determine whether a harsh winter could increase mortality rates – prompting emergency feeding.

Summer wildfires also are a problem for elk and deer. Fires in eastern Idaho destroyed a large winter feeding range, so Fish and Game will focus some resources there.

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