Starting in mid-December, Idaho Fish and Game crews will be capturing and collaring elk using helicopters. Cow and calf elk are being fitted with radio collars to monitor their survival rates as part of an ongoing mortality study, according to an Idaho Fish and Game news release.
The study, which is in its fifth year, tracks the movements of elk and allows biologists to investigate elk deaths. Since the study started in 2014, the annual cow survival rate has been 94 percent, according to the news release. The calf survival rate for the winters of 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 80 percent.
However, calf survival rate dropped to 50 percent during the harsher, longer 2016-17 winter.
The elk will be captured with nets or tranquilizers depending on the terrain. Officials hope to capture and collar 60 elk. Currently there are 120 collared elk in the study. The captures will occur in the Silver Valley, the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe River areas.
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