Unleashed dogs pose threat to winter-weary wildlife
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Deer and elk will need another few months to regain their strength from the rigors of surviving the winter, and they don't need any setbacks from loose-running dogs.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is reminding pet owners that dogs must be on a leash in Idaho wildlife management areas.
A recent check found 80 percent of visitors to the 53-square-mile Boise River Wildlife Management Area violate a 4-year-old law requiring dogs to be on leashes while in the state's wildlife management areas.
Agency spokeswoman Krista Mueller says now is a critical time for mule deer, elk, pronghorn and their young to survive to the end of the winter and early spring.
She says wildlife forced to move out of the area because of roaming pets use up fat reserves needed to get them through the next several weeks.
Shed hunters also pose a threat of disturbance to deer still on their winter ranges.