Elk

Keith Kohl / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

Blaine County is attempting to address an issue that plagued the Wood River Valley last winter: feeding elk. County commissioners are looking into an ordinance revising the county's position on private citizens giving food to big game.


Cathy / Flickr Creative Commons

As residents of a subdivision in Blaine County continue feeding elk, the county is taking them to court over the rule violations.

A herd of around 70 elk descended on the Golden Eagle Ranch development north of Hailey in December. Driven to lower elevations by the harsh winter weather, the residents of the development said the animals were eating everything from patio furniture to decorative wreaths.

After hearing about increased emergency feeding efforts on the part of Idaho Fish and Game, some residents of the subdivision started feeding the animals.

Chris Pawluk / Flickr

Animal-car collisions are a real problem in Idaho. In one short section of Idaho 21 near Boise, 77 deer and elk were hit by cars in 2016. The Idaho Transportation Department will discuss the issue Wednesday and take a cue from how Banff National Park in Canada solved its wildlife mortality problem.

Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game crews are feeding 4,000 elk in eastern Idaho this winter, after a fire burned 22,000 acres of their winter range.

The fire hit the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Bonneville County last year. Without grass, forbs and brush, elk and deer now have nothing to eat. Fish and Game worried they would travel to private property 13 miles away and start eating haystacks and spilling into towns.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Elk and deer continue to struggle this winter and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is adding 27 more feeding sites for the animals.

That brings the number of feed sites around the Southeast Region to 89.

There are 16 elk sites feeding 2,780 animals. There are 71 deer sites, feeding 8,731 of the animals. And two pronghorn sites are getting feed to 215 animals. The sites are in 12 Idaho counties.

Dmitry.S. / Flickr

Idaho is spending about $650,000 this winter to feed elk, deer and antelope at 110 sites around the southern half of the state.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Wednesday said the severe winter prompted officials to declare four feeding emergencies in four regions to start the feeding of about 10,000 elk, 10,000 deer and 100 antelope.

"We know we are in a very significant winter," said Jon Rachael, state wildlife game manager.

Keith Kohl / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

Antelope injured while falling on ice. Horses stranded in snowy mountains. Cougars descending from their wilderness lairs to forage in a town.

It's been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.

Dmitry.S. / Flickr

Officials in the Wood River Valley say last winter was one of the deadliest on the books for elk.

 

The numbers? Over 80 animals died from three main causes: eating poisonous plants, getting trampled at a Fish and Game feeding station and injuries from bales of hay falling on them.

 

Around 20 elk were crushed by stacked hay bales over the course of last winter.

 

Jim Peaco | Yellowstone National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal wildlife services and Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials have joined forces to kill wolves in the Clearwater Region for the third year in a row.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that elk herds have been struggling in the remote country for nearly two decades.

Ard van der Leeuw / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is feeding elk in four areas of south-central Idaho in hopes of keeping them off roadways and away from hay stacks and cattle operations.

The Times-News reports that residents in the Wood River Valley are asked not to feed elk or stop them from moving on to the Fish and Game feeding areas.

Tatters / Flickr Creative Commons

A central Idaho homeowners association is taking steps to eliminate a poisonous plant that has been killing elk in the area.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the Valley Club Owners Association in Hailey has prohibited the planting of yews. The exotic shrubs are commonly used in landscaping, but they are toxic to many animals and to humans.

Dave Siddoway / Flickr Creative Commons

More than a dozen elk have died this winter in the Wood River Valley. Biologists think the animals have eaten ornamental yew, a non-native shrub some people have planted in their yards. The bright green plants can be shaped into those intricate topiaries you see in English or Japanese gardens.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The federal official who oversees the Salmon-Challis National Forest says Idaho Fish and Game’s unapproved collaring of four wolves in a wilderness area last week is a “big deal.”

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho wildlife officials have killed 23 wolves in northern Idaho in an effort to boost the number of elk in the region.

The Idaho Fish and Game announced Friday afternoon that the animals were killed by USDA Wildlife Service agents using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border. It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years, bringing the total number of wolves killed there to 48.

Elk
GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

Hunters and other interested parties have one more chance to comment on Idaho's proposed new elk management plan.

The state has spent the last several years working on a plan to replace the current version, which went into effect in 1999. Fish and Game's deer and elk program coordinator, Toby Boudreau, says the 15-year-old plan is now obsolete.

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