Fatal crash brought scrutiny
The last good barometer Snake River region hunters have had on the hatching success of upland birds has ended. Idaho Fish and Game biologists will no longer conduct aerial chukar surveys, the agency has announced.
The agency has conducted annual chukar surveys since the mid-1980s primarily to provide a “forecast” for the upcoming season. The data were not biological data used to set seasons, officials said in a news release.
Washington ended its aerial chukar surveys in the Snake and Grande Ronde river areas after 1997 for reasons of expense.
Nevertheless, anecdotal reports of good-size chukar broods were coming in this summer to Idaho regional wildlife managers from river rafters and anglers.
Idaho’s chukar survey flights were axed after officials scrutinized the agency’s use of aerial surveys following a fatal helicopter accident last year along the Clearwater River that killed two fisheries biologists and the pilot. Several aerial surveys have been eliminated after a review was conducted to assess risk and cost in relation to value of biological information collected
The surveys offered sportsmen useful general trends in the fall population.
Without the surveys, biologists say they will rely more on collecting wings from harvested birds to obtain an index to production and estimate harvest from annual hunter surveys.
Most recent column
One of the best huckleberry crops in memory is leaving stains on fingers and smiles on faces throughout the region. Berries are so thick in some mountain areas, a serious harvester might move less than 25 feet in an hour. A season like this can …
Recent blog posts
PUBLIC LANDS -- National Parks in Utah are uniting to take action on the June proclamation to ban unmanned aircraft in national parks across the United States. Drones banned in ...
WILD EDIBLES -- Vickie Garner Sienknecht said she's not much for poetry -- shunning my request for submissions of Huckleberry Haiku -- but this photo from last weekend, she says, ...